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News from the world of cruise travel
November 1-15, 2004

Return to's Cruise News Weekly Index & Archive features thoughts & insights on things seen & heard around the internet & the cruise industry.

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Princess Publishes New 2005-06 Caribbean & Mexico Brochure
Six-Ship Caribbean Season and Expanded Three-Ship Mexican Riviera Program Detailed

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (Nov 15, 2004) - Vacationers can dream about a relaxing tropical escape with Princess' newly released Caribbean & Mexico 2005-06 brochure, featuring a comprehensive selection of itineraries throughout the Caribbean and the West Coast's Mexican Riviera. With six Princess ships covering the Caribbean from Ft. Lauderdale, San Juan and Galveston, and the line's most extensive Mexican Rivera season ever featuring sailings from San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, travelers are sure to find the perfect escape among the brochure's 100 pages. 

Princess' Summer 2005-Spring 2006 Caribbean and Mexico season includes:


  • Caribbean Princess Eastern Caribbean - This new 113,000-ton ship, built specifically for the Caribbean trade, sails on its second season with Princess' Classic Eastern Caribbean itinerary roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale. The vessel will offer 27 Saturday departures on an itinerary that travels to St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Princess Cays. Sailings run between October 29, 2005 and April 29, 2006.

  • Caribbean Princess Summer -- Caribbean Princess will also offer a complete summer season with alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises. The April 30 to October 22, 2005 season features both 15 Eastern Caribbean sailings and 11 Western Caribbean sailings to Princess Cays, Ocho Rios (or Montego Bay), Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

  • Grand Princess Returns to Galveston - Grand Princess returns for a second season of seven-day Western Caribbean itineraries from Princess' new Galveston homeport. The vessel departs on Saturdays for calls in Belize, Costa Maya, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. The ship offers 23 sailings on this itinerary between November 26, 2005 and April 29, 2006.

  • Star Princess Western Caribbean - Star Princess returns to the Caribbean with seven-day Western Caribbean itineraries, departing from Ft. Lauderdale on Sundays. The ship will offer 27 sailings between October 9, 2005 and April 30, 2006, featuring calls at Princess Cays, Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios.

  • Holiday Cruises -- Star Princess will also sail on two special holiday cruises - a 10-day Eastern Caribbean Voyager over Christmas and an 11-day Southern Caribbean Medley over the New Year. The first departs on December 18 and will spend the holidays visiting St. Vincent, Grenada, St. Lucia, Martinique, St. Thomas and Princess Cays. The New Year sailing departs December 28 and will visit Aruba, Curaçao, Isla Margarita, Barbados, Dominica, St. Thomas and Princess Cays.

  • Golden Princess Southern Caribbean - Based in San Juan, Golden Princess offers alternating seven-day Southern Caribbean itineraries, departing on Saturdays. The Classic Southern Caribbean itinerary includes calls at Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. The alternate Southern Caribbean Explorer itinerary features the ports of St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Grenada, Caracas and Aruba. The ship will offer 19 sailings of the Southern Caribbean Explorer and seven sailiings of the Classic Southern Caribbean between October 29, 2005 and April 22, 2006. 

  • Caribbean/New York sailings -- Golden Princess will sail on three Eastern Caribbean cruises between New York and San Juan. The October 22, 2005 sailing travels from New York and calls at St. Thomas, Antigua and St. Maarten. On May 1, 2005 and April 29, 2006, the ship sails the reverse direction from San Juan.

  • Sun Princess 10-day Cruises - Sun Princess will offer alternating 10-day sailings roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale. The 11 Southern Caribbean Medley sailings include calls at Curaçao, Isla Margarita, Barbados, Dominica, St. Thomas and Princess Cays. The Eastern Caribbean Voyager itinerary is featured on 10 sailings and offers calls at St. Vincent, Grenada, St. Lucia, Martinique, St. Thomas and Princess Cays. 

  • New 14-day Sailings on Sea Princess - Sea Princess returns to the Princess fleet with a series of new 14-day Caribbean adventures. The ship will feature two alternating itineraries sailing roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale. Seven sailings of the Grand Caribbean Adventurer route depart between November 5 and April 22, and include calls at Princess Cays, Tortola, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Vincent, Trinidad, Bonaire and Curacao. Six sailings of the new Grand Caribbean Islander itinerary are offered between November 19 and April 8, featuring calls at Princess Cays, Tortola, Antigua, Dominica, Martinique, Barbados, Grenada, Isla Margarita, Aruba and Grand Cayman. 


  • Sapphire Princess from Los Angeles -- Sapphire Princess sails on the line's classic seven-day itinerary roundtrip from Los Angeles, featuring calls at Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, every Saturday between October 1, 2005 and April 22, 2006. 

  • Dawn Princess from San Francisco -- Dawn Princess will be based in San Francisco on a 10-day roundtrip itinerary to Catalina Island, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, Cabo San Lucas and San Diego. Following in the wake of Sapphire Princess, which offered only a few departures on this itinerary the season before, Dawn Princess expands this new program with 24 sailings departing between September 21, 2005 and May 9, 2006.

  • Regal Princess from San Diego -- Regal Princess' new 10-day San Diego program includes calls at Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlán. The roundtrip voyages sail between September 26 and November 5, 2005, during which time the 1,590-passenger Regal Princess is sure to be a distinctive sight in San Diego's harbor. 

Copies of Princess' new brochure are available from professional travel agents or by clicking on the "Brochures" link at Brochures may also be downloaded in pdf format from the website. Additional information is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS

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Total Solar Eclipse Highlights Holland America Line's 
2006 World Cruise

SEATTLE, Nov. 11 -- Holland America Line's 2006 Grand World Voyage covers 36 destinations, 22 countries, six continents and 30,000 nautical miles. The voyage crosses the equator four times and includes nine maiden ports of call. Mother Nature provides an added thrill when the 793-passenger ms Prinsendam arrives off the coast of Turkey on March 29, 2006 -- an ideal place and time to view a total solar eclipse.

"A Grand World Voyage represents Holland America Line at its finest, it is the experience of a lifetime," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "This 'Circle of the Sun' itinerary is designed with 'destination collectors' in mind. Classic cities and unspoiled, lesser-known places offer guests unsurpassed opportunities to explore their world."

The 2006 Grand World Voyage features South America, Antarctica, Africa, India, Egypt, Libya and the Mediterranean. Nine maiden calls explore new territories including two ports in re-emerging tourist hotspot, Libya; overnights in Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Mombasa, and Mumbai also know as Bombay. Hundreds of optional shore excursions and a number of overland tours add interest to this epic voyage.

"Circle of the Sun" Offers Unique Travel Opportunity
Wonders unfold as Prinsendam sets sail on January 5, 2006 from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, for sun-swept Caribbean shores and breathtaking Brazil. Adventures abound along the jungle-clad Amazon River and the boulevards and beaches of Rio de Janeiro. The electric cities of Montevideo, Uruguay, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, are a fitting prelude to the ethereal beauty of the white continent of Antarctica. The scenic glory of South Africa is spotlighted by visits to Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Richards Bay. The journey continues to the dazzling beaches of Madagascar and Comoros, and then visits Tanzania and Kenya. The breathtaking scenery in the Seychelles leads to exotic sights and sounds in Cochin and Mumbai, India.

Cruising to Egypt includes a daylight transit of the historic Suez Canal. While sailing between Antalya, Turkey, and Crete, Greece, guests will experience a total solar eclipse. Continuing onward, Benghazi and Tripoli, Libya, reveal myriad delights of this once-forbidden land; Catania, Naples and Civitavecchia show off the warmth and flavors of Italy; and Corsica offers a taste of France. Sailing into the Atlantic, Prinsendam drops anchor in Cadiz, Spain, and Madeira, Portugal, before arriving in Ft. Lauderdale on April 20, completing the Grand World Voyage in New York City on April 23, 2006.

Intriguing 14- to 108-day cruise segments fit any schedule or budget. Substantial benefits, including complimentary first class air, prepaid gratuities and shipboard credits are available for full voyage clients who book higher categories by February 20, 2005. Mariner Society members and guests who have sailed previously on any world cruise save US$1,500-$2,000 per person; past Holland America Line Grand World Voyage guests save an additional US$500-$1,000 per person. All segment guests who book by May 9, 2005, earn shipboard credits based on the category and length of the segment purchased. Clients who pay in full by May 31, 2005 can save up to an additional US$4,500 per person. Reservations are being taken now. For more information or reservations, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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Princess Debuts Interactive eBrochures 
New Feature Makes Vacation Planning Even Easier with Clickable Table of Contents and Direct Web Links

SANTA CLARITA, Calif., Nov. 9 -- Princess has taken vacation planning to a new level with the launch of the cruise industry's first-ever interactive eBrochures. These innovative eBrochures make researching a Princess vacation easier than ever with clickable links to take the reader directly to the information they're seeking. Offered exclusively by Princess, eBrochures offer a clickable table of contents, interactive deck plans, a built-in search function, custom printing of selected pages, the ability to zoom in on maps and deck plans, and direct links to detailed content on The brochures can be downloaded directly from with Adobe Acrobat. Currently the 2005 Alaska brochure is available for download, and the remainder of Princess' 2005-06 brochures will soon be posted for instant e-browsing.

"Our eBrochures offer an even better way to research and plan a Princess cruise," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales. "And they assure that users always have the most up-to-date information by linking directly to our website. No other cruise line offers its customers such a powerful way to access the information they need to plan the perfect vacation."

Princess eBrochures include a number of easy-to-use features:

  • Easy Navigation with Quick Links -- Users can navigate easier by clicking directly on each Table of Contents entry to go quickly to the section they want. Other linked sections in the brochures will take users directly to fare information and sailing dates.

  • Online Information Access -- Passengers are assured of always having access to the most up-to-date information, with direct links to Princess' website. Cruise departure dates link directly to additional information about that sailing, and itineraries jump directly to online port information.

  • Interactive Deck Plans -- Instead of the static deck plans of a standard brochure, with eBrochure users can use Adobe Acrobat tools to zoom up close, and access descriptive stateroom information online. 

  • Built-in Search Features -- Users can search eBrochure by keyword or can zoom in on maps and deck plans using Adobe Reader's built-in features.

  • Custom Printing -- Rather than printing the full brochure, with eBrochures users can print only the pages they want, making the planning process fast and focused.

Princess' eBrochures can be found in's Downloads section, which also offers downloadable desktops, screen savers, slide shows and icons., the line's comprehensive web site, offers a wealth of information about Princess ships, destinations and schedules. Whether a user is new to cruising, an experienced cruiser or is booked and ready to set sail, the site provides the tools and resources to plan a voyage or just relive the excitement. The site's vacation-planning features include detailed destinational information with virtual visits through stunning 360-degree photography, full shore excursion listings, ship tours and deck plans. In addition members of Princess Captain's Circle past passenger program can register preferences and track their accounts online. More information about Princess eBrochures is available is available from princess website at Additional information about Princess products and schedule is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Royal Caribbean Intl Names Much-Anticipated Ultra Voyager

MIAMI, Nov. 9 -- Finnish workers at Kvaerner Masa- Yards have laid the first block of the massive keel destined to frame Royal Caribbean International's newest, most futuristic ship. In lowering the 443-ton block into the drydock, Royal Caribbean used the start of construction to announce the name of the new ship -- Freedom of the Seas -- and comment on the thinking behind the name. Throughout preconstruction, the ship has been called Ultra Voyager.

"Freedom of the Seas will be the most head-turning, most innovative and most forward-looking ship in the cruise industry," said Richard D. Fain, Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO. "Its name was chosen deliberately to convey the enormity of features and amenities offered on this extraordinary ship. Freedom of the Seas is really all about freedom of choice. Freedom to explore. Freedom to relax. Freedom to make one's own vacation plans reflective of one's own tastes and interests."

Royal Caribbean's newest ship again elevates cruise-ship design and innovation to new levels. Freedom of the Seas builds on the line's popular Voyager-class ships, so once breakthrough, now signature, elements such as the Royal Promenade, rock-climbing wall and ice-skating rink are standard on Freedom of the Seas. The company will reveal this ship's major new features as she takes shape in drydock. One feature the company will share now, in keeping with its "freedom" theme, is the great freedom of space planned for the new ship. Freedom of the Seas will have some of the largest guest staterooms and the most spacious balconies in the industry. One reason for the roominess? Freedom of the Seas will have full-size, yet space-saving, flat screen TVs in 100 percent of the guest staterooms and public areas.

The first-in-the-industry flat screen TVs dovetail with other technologies onboard, earning Freedom of the Seas the distinction of being the most digitally advanced cruise ship at sea. The new ship will be free of wires by having extensive WiFi capabilities and connectivity for regular cell phones. Other functions will enhance the ship's security, navigational and environmental-management systems. Freedom of the Seas will be the world's largest cruise ship when she enters service in April 2006 at 158,000 gross registered tons. The 3,600-guest ship (double occupancy) will sail year-round, seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami. Bookings are scheduled to open in spring 2005. For additional information about the cruise line, please visit the company's Web site at or call 800-327-6700.

Fast Facts for Freedom of the Seas

158,000 GRT 1,112 feet long
184 feet wide 28 feet draft
21.6 knots cruising speed 15 passenger decks
3,600 guests double occupancy 4,370 guests total occupancy
1,800 guest staterooms 1,360 crew

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Seabourn Cruise Graces Brooks Brothers Holiday Gift Book
$30,460, 28-Day Grand Voyage in Asia for Those Who've Been Very, Very Good

MIAMI, Nov. 9 -- When Brooks Brothers' top customers receive the company's 2004 Holiday Gift Book in their mailboxes this season, they will have a range of choices, from traditional gifts such as the handsome clothing and accessories for which the venerable American retailer is justly famous, to a selection of high-end indulgences for well-heeled Santas who want to make this a Holiday to remember.

In the latter category, the top-drawer slot is occupied by a 28-day Asian Grand Voyage in an expansive Owner's Suite aboard the ultra luxury Seabourn Spirit. The voyage, which sails from Singapore on February 27th, 2005, explores Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia and Vietnam before ending at Hong Kong on March 27th. The Grand Voyage fare is $30,460 per person, based on double occupancy.

"We are delighted to be one of Brooks Brothers' Holiday offerings," said Deborah L. Natansohn, Seabourn's president. "Brooks Brothers is a great American brand, world-renowned as an exemplar of understated elegance, quality and style, and we believe their customers would love cruising with Seabourn."

Aside from the gourmet cuisine, opulent accommodations and superb, personalized service for which Seabourn is famous, the cruise includes two complimentary Exclusively Seabourn shoreside experiences in ports of call. Brooks Brothers customers will also enjoy a pair of exclusive benefits: a set of travel accessories from Brooks Brothers' Golden Fleece Leather and Oxford collection, and a tour in Singapore exploring the Chinese art of Feng Shui and the age-old tea ceremony with masters of both disciplines.

The cruise itself is available in other suite categories. With Grand Voyage Savings of 50 percent (for combining two cruises for the 28-day voyage), fares start from $10,265 per person, based on double occupancy of a 277-square foot ocean-view suite. This cruise-only fare does not include the exclusive Brooks Brothers benefits outlined above. For more information, contact a travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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Complimentary Beijing Land Package & Enriching New Shore Excursions Highlight Crystal Harmony's 2005 Asia Cruises
Sotheby's Institute and Smithsonian Experts Provide Cultural Insight

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 9 -- From cooking classes in Hong Kong to riding the world's fastest train in Shanghai to relishing the tranquil beauty of the Peace Garden in Nagasaki, in 2005 Crystal Cruises explores Asia by sea and by land with an enriching series of new Crystal Adventures showcasing contemporary interests and historical intrigue. More than 50 tours ashore have been set for the season. From March-April 2005, the award-winning Crystal Harmony will offer four 13- to 14-day cruise/land itineraries to 10 ports of call in China, Japan and Taiwan. Overnight stays in world-class cities such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, Osaka and Hiroshima highlight each cruise and allow savvy travelers the opportunity to immerse themselves in the cultural nuances of each destination.

The complimentary three-night land program in Beijing adds tremendous value and destination enrichment to each itinerary. Offered as pre- or post-cruise component of the cruise, depending on departure, the "Adventures in Beijing" showcases the Forbidden City, Tian An Men Square, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, Sacred Alley, and concludes with a private dinner at the Great Hall of the People. All accommodations, sightseeing and transportation, porterage, gratuities, and English-speaking tour escort are included.

On board, Crystal Cruises' sophisticated clientele will appreciate the geo-political perspectives provided by geo-political speakers, as well as cultural insights by experts from Sotheby's and The Smithsonian Associates. Also complementing the itineraries are Creative Learning Institute language classes through Berlitz in Japanese and hands-on art classes ranging from jewelry making based on the principles of Feng Shui to Chinese brush painting, silk painting and origami.

"Crystal Cruises' Asian vacations are designed to be seamless, stylish and stimulating," says Bill Smith, Crystal Cruises' senior vice president, sales and marketing. "Itineraries, shore-side experiences and onboard programs have been created to capture the history, geography, architecture and mystical beauty of Asia."

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Princess Launches First-Ever Galveston Cruising

SANTA CLARITA, Calif., Nov. 8 -- When Grand Princess sets sail on its first cruise from Galveston today, the 109,000-ton ship will become the largest, newest and most amenity-filled ship to sail from the Texas port. TV's own "Captain Stubing," actor Gavin MacLeod of "The Love Boat," will be on hand to welcome the award-winning vessel to Texas for the first time as the ship begins a season featuring the only week-long, four-port itinerary from Galveston.

Grand Princess brings to Galveston some exciting new features such as the line's "Movies Under the Stars" poolside movie screen and a new premium Sterling Steakhouse, as well as many of the amenities that have made the ship a favorite of passengers -- such as an Italian trattoria, Asian-inspired spa, ScholarShip@Sea enrichment program and a variety of dining and entertainment options.

"With more Princess ships in the Caribbean than ever before this season, we were in a wonderful position to expand into a new home port," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales. "Galveston is a strong addition to our program, and offers our passengers a distinctly different cruise option. Not only is the homeport itself a great place to begin or end a cruise, we're offering a fantastic new itinerary and a very convenient option for Texans and our western U.S. passengers -- who will enjoy much shorter travel time to and from their Caribbean cruise."

The 2,600-passenger Grand Princess will offer 22 roundtrip departures from Galveston between November 8, 2004 and April 9, 2005. The itinerary will feature calls at some of the most scenic spots in the Western Caribbean, and offer passengers one more port than competitors' Galveston cruises in the fall. The route features stops at Belize, a new port for Princess; Costa Maya (Mexico); Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

The ship's Galveston debut marks the addition of an exciting new feature, a state-of-the-art, 300-square-foot "Movies Under the Stars" Times Square-style LED screen above the ship's Neptune Pool, showing a variety of feature films, sporting events, concerts, sing-a-longs and family favorites throughout the day, all as passengers lounge by the pool or relax in a hot tub. Evening showings include special touches such as cushions on the deck's lounge chairs, fresh popcorn and movie-themed drink specials. This outdoor movie screen concept debuted to much passenger enthusiasm this past spring on the line's new Caribbean Princess.

Grand Princess was designed to offer big-ship choice in amenities and public areas, all in an intimately designed environment with a small-ship feel. The vessel features multiple dining and entertainment venues, with Princess the only cruise line to offer Anytime Dining, the unique opportunity to choose when, where and with whom passengers wish to dine. Among the ship's many amenities are a highly praised authentic Italian trattoria, a premium steakhouse, an extensive children's center, golf simulator and nine-hole putting course, a wedding chapel, Lotus Spa, fitness center, a swim-against-the-current pool, more than 700 staterooms with private balconies, and the ship's dramatic Skywalker's Lounge, suspended 150 feet above the sea. Additional information is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Royal Caribbean's Newest Ship Makes Fort Lauderdale Debut 
Jewel of the Seas Sparkles With Entertainment, Dining, Activities and Art

MIAMI, Nov. 5 -- Royal Caribbean International's newest ship, Jewel of the Seas, arrives in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, Nov. 6, to take guests south for the winter with a season of eight-night Eastern Caribbean and six-night Western Caribbean cruises from Port Everglades. Jewel of the Seas debuted in May 2004, taking guests on 12-night Scandinavia/Russia and 12-night British Isles/Norwegian Fjord cruises from Harwich to explore many of the most beautiful and historic areas of Europe before repositioning to Boston for five fall Canada/New England itineraries that offered cruisers a chance to enjoy the spectacular fall foliage.

Guests will quickly find that the exceptional scenery and exploration don't stop at the shoreline. With nearly three acres of exterior glass, Jewel of the Seas delivers the sun, sea and coastal scenery into dining rooms and lounges throughout the ship. Jewel sparkles with ocean-facing glass elevators and floor-to-ceiling windows in most public areas, as well as the highest percentage of balcony staterooms in Royal Caribbean's fleet. Guests will discover she also shines bright when it comes to entertainment, dining, activities and art. Following are some of Jewel's most noteworthy gems:

Jewel of the Seas' spectacular Coral Theater is home to three exciting new productions from Royal Caribbean, including an authentic tango show, "Tango Buenos Aires," starring Argentinean dancers and musicians, and two musical reviews. "City of Dreams" features the music of top artists including Billy Joel, Elton John and Celine Dion, while "From West End to Broadway" presents a variety of musical numbers from Cole Porter to Les Miserables. Guests aboard Jewel of the Seas have a wide range of entertainment to choose from each evening, including the fast-paced action in the Casino Royale, the nautical-themed Schooner Bar featuring sing-along piano tunes and the Vortex disco with revolving bar and pulse-pounding dance music. The Hollywood Odyssey lounge offers an intimate evening with solo artists and jazz performances, while the Safari Club focuses on fun with theme parties and karaoke nights.

Jewel of the Seas boasts six outstanding dining venues, including a lovely two-story main dining room, Tides. The Windjammer Cafe offers casual, buffet dining with a large selection of international fare, while the Solarium Cafe serves up pizza and snacks. Tucked away at the top of the ship, the Seaview Cafe is a quiet retreat featuring favorites including fish and chips and popcorn shrimp. For an intimate evening, or simply to share an outstanding meal with new friends, Jewel of the Seas has two reservations-only, specialty restaurants -- the northern Italian-inspired Portofino restaurant and the Chops Grille steakhouse.

For an elegant ship, Jewel of the Seas also has a playful side. Active guests will find enough options to keep themselves occupied from sunup to sundown. Jewel's Sports Court includes Royal Caribbean's signature rock- climbing wall, a half-court basketball court, a nine-hole miniature golf course, a golf simulator, a jogging track and a kids pool with slide. Fitness buffs won't miss a workout with the ShipShape Fitness Center. The gym complex includes an aerobics studio, cardiovascular and weight-training equipment and a dedicated free-weights area. After working up a sweat, guests can treat themselves to a massage in the Jewel Day Spa, or get a pass to the Thermal Suite, which features heated tile loungers, an aromatherapy steam room, a sauna and two tropical fog showers.

The eclectic, $5.3 million dollar art collection on Jewel of the Seas is tied together around the themes of landscape and light. Paintings, sculptures, textiles, ceramics and mosaics throughout the ship set the mood for each area.

The mystery and romance of the moon and the ocean tides are explored in Tides dining room with a unique mural, "Full Moon Swing," using Byzantine glass mosaic, brass and copper. The nine-story Centrum features a modern art interpretation of the Northern Lights: a stainless steel, wire and glass sculpture with an integrated lighting system.

The wild beauty of Africa is depicted in the Safari Club through paintings, glass sculpted animal heads, fabrics and collages. The exotic landscape and culture of Thailand is captured in the Solarium, which features lush tropical foliage and Thai art, such as an authentic 18th century temple bell and a traditional Thai gate.

2004-2005 Itineraries
From Fort Lauderdale, Jewel will sail alternating eight-night Eastern Caribbean and six-night Western Caribbean itineraries throughout the winter and spring, visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; St. John, Antigua; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Nassau, Bahamas; Key West, Florida; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; and George Town, Grand Cayman. She will also sail two special seven-night Caribbean holiday sailings from Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 26 and Jan. 2.

Jewel will return to Harwich, England, on May 15, 2005, to sail 12-night Scandinavia/Russia itineraries and two special 12-night British Isles/Norwegian Fjords cruises. In Fall 2005, Jewel will return to Boston to offer five, unprecedented 10-night Bermuda/Caribbean itineraries visiting Tortola, B.V.I.; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; King's Wharf, Bermuda and Royal Caribbean's private destination of Labadee in Hispanola.

For additional information, please visit the company's Web site at or call 800-327-6700. 

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Windstar Announces 'Europe On Sail' 
With Two-For-One Pricing in 2005 

SEATTLE, Nov. 5 -- All 2005 European and Trans-Atlantic itineraries aboard Windstar Cruises' three motor sailing yachts are now available at two-for-one rates, or better, with the newly announced "Europe on Sail" promotion. Rates are based on brochure fares and apply to all sailings departing between April 2 and November 13, 2005.

"Discerning travelers consistently rate us as among the best, and this special two-for-one offer provides even more extraordinary value," says Tom Russell, Windstar's vice president of marketing and sales. "All three of our ships will sail European itineraries in 2005 giving guests a wider range of cruises to choose from in the Mediterranean and the popular Greek Islands."

The 308-passenger Wind Surf sails from Ft. Lauderdale to Lisbon on April 9, 2005 and will spend the season sailing in the western and eastern Mediterranean through November 13. Examples of pricing include: $1,795 per person for a seven-day Malaga to Marseille cruise on May 1; $1,895 per person for a seven-day Rome to Malta cruise on June 5; $1,495 per person for a seven-day Malaga to Lisbon cruise on November 6; and $1,095 per person for a 14-day Trans-Atlantic voyage on November 13.

The 148-passenger Wind Spirit sails from St. Thomas to Lisbon on April 2, 2005 and will sail in the Mediterranean and Greek Islands through November 12, 2005. Examples of pricing include: $1,895 per person ($3,790 for two people) for a seven-day Barcelona to Rome cruise on April 23; $2,295 per person for a seven-day Athens to Istanbul cruise on June 4; and $1,995 per person for a seven-day Venice to Athens cruise on August 6.

The 148-passenger Wind Star sails from Barbados to Lisbon on April 9, 2005 and will sail in the Mediterranean and Greek Islands through November 5, 2005. Examples of pricing include: $1,095 per person ($2,190 for two people) for a 14-day Trans-Atlantic voyage on April 9, $2,695 per person for an 11-day Rome to Istanbul cruise on May 10; $1,995 per person for a seven-day Monte Carlo to Barcelona cruise on July 9; and $2,295 per person for a seven-day Istanbul to Athens cruise on September 24.

Rates are quoted per person, double occupancy including non-discountable amounts. Government fees and taxes are additional. For more information including brochures, 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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Getting Out There With Just the Girls: Royal Caribbean Survey Explores Girlfriends Getaway Trends

MIAMI, Nov. 4 -- Girlfriends getaways are gaining ground, according to a recent independent study conducted by Royal Caribbean International of more than 1,500 women nationwide. Close to half of the women surveyed (48 percent) have taken a girlfriends-only trip in the past three years, and nearly nine out of 10 said they either have plans for a trip in the near future (33 percent) or would like to take one (56 percent).

"We host more women than men each year and see many groups of women cruising to enjoy time together and share new experiences," said Dan Hanrahan, senior vice president, Marketing and Sales, for Royal Caribbean International. "This new survey confirms this popular trend, and reinforces Royal Caribbean offers all of the top elements women look for in a getaway -- new destinations to explore, spa treatments, beach and pool time, and great shopping, dining and nightlife."

According to the survey, girlfriends on the go are most interested in sharing a special spa retreat (66 percent), beach vacation (65 percent), shopping trip (57 percent), cruise (53 percent) or city visit (42 percent).

While where to go is important, the majority of women in favor of girls-only getaways said they feel the top reason to take these trips is to bond with friends and family (70 percent). Other motivations selected include sharing new experiences (45 percent), exploring new destinations together (40 percent), taking a break from a significant other (39 percent), taking a break from work (37 percent), taking a break from kids (35 percent) and celebrating an important occasion (33 percent).

Despite the fact that a third of women planning or hoping to get away said they would enjoy a break from their significant other, 86 percent said that men are the most popular topic of conversation. Talking about the past came in a close second at 69 percent, followed by sex (59 percent), children (57 percent) and the future (57 percent). Although women love to take time to talk and catch up, according to the survey findings, they also like to stay active. While dining out was the most popular activity cited (89 percent), shopping (81 percent), spa sessions (75 percent), beach/pool activities (73 percent), makeovers (64 percent) and nightlife (56 percent) also proved popular.

The biggest barriers to bringing girlfriends together, according to respondents, are finding a time that works for everyone (85 percent) and selecting a trip to suit all budgets (80 percent). Not in question, however, is what they would pack differently -- more money, more makeup and more clothes. Old photos of friends on the trip and current photos of loved ones also are must-haves.

Royal Caribbean Offers Girlfriends Outstanding Options for Getaways
Girlfriends planning a group trip can find a Royal Caribbean cruise to match everyone's wish list and budget. The line has 19 ships offering itineraries ranging from three to 14 nights in Alaska, Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico and the Panama Canal. Onboard, girlfriends cruising together will find a wide range of activities to enjoy, including day spas, fitness centers, duty-free shopping, multiple dining options, casinos, and nightlife from nightclubs to musical productions. Girlfriends can cheer each other on to reach new heights on the line's signature rock-climbing walls, practice their putting on miniature-golf courses, or simply catch up poolside at the adults-only Solariums.

Royal Caribbean also has introduced a new program to make group travel even more memorable. Royal Reunions offers guests special amenities and activities, including festive stateroom door decorations, Royal Reunions logo gifts, a group photo and group challenges run by the cruise staff. For additional information about the cruise line, please visit the company's Web site at or call 800-327-6700. 

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Dame Julie Andrews Returns to Crystal Serenity as Celebrity Guest Aboard Crystal Cruises' 2005 World Cruise 
Renowned Speakers Spotlight Crystal Visions Enrichment Program

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 4 -- Befitting the ultimate voyage, Dame Julie Andrews will kick off Crystal Cruises' 10th annual World Cruise departing Los Angeles on January 15, 2005. The celebrated actress, songstress, author, director and godmother of Crystal Serenity returns as a celebrity guest to the luxury ship she christened in July 2003. Dozens of other noted entertainers and lecturers will join the grand odyssey, while over 300 Crystal Adventures ashore (including 36 new tours) have been set for the 101-day "Empires of the Sun" World Cruise.

Ms. Andrews will join Crystal Serenity for the first segment of the World Cruise, traveling from Los Angeles to Tahiti via the Hawaiian and Society Islands. On board, the award-winning entertainer and best-selling children's book author will interact with guests through a series of Q&A sessions and book signings.

"We are tremendously honored that Ms. Andrews' first cruise on 'her ship,' Crystal Serenity, will be aboard our World Cruise, our grandest of voyages," says Gregg Michel, president of Crystal Cruises. "The scope of her talent, her warmth, and her style are illustrious, while her contemporary pursuits and sophistication reflect the values of Crystal. She is the perfect complement to this journey of a lifetime."

Celebrating a decade of world discovery and enrichment, Crystal Cruises is renowned for the luxury and enrichment of its World Cruises. Each year the line seeks out the most distinguished guest entertainers and speakers, revealing shore activities, engaging shipboard programs, and exclusive amenities, gifts and events to commemorate the grandeur of a world cruise.

Crystal Serenity's 2005 "Empires of the Sun" World Cruise features an impressive roster of exotic and cosmopolitan destinations, rich in historical, cultural and architectural significance, from the kingdoms of the South Pacific and the jewels of the Far East, to the treasures of the Pharaohs and the empires of Europe. From Los Angeles to London, Crystal Serenity journeys to 42 ports of call in 19 countries on four continents, spending two days in many of the cities along the way. The grand odyssey is also available in six individual World Voyages, ranging in length from 13 to 22 days, sailing from Los Angeles, Papeete, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Athens.

A World of Adventure
Each World Voyage features an exclusive complimentary shoreside event in a key destination -- six in all for full World Cruise guests -- such as a whale watching expedition in Maui; a trip to the Hobbiton movie set from the film "The Lord of the Rings" in Tauranga; a tropical jungle excursion aboard an amphibious army duck in Cairns; sailing along Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; or an elegant evening dining amidst the pyramids and Sphinx in Alexandria.

A World of Enrichment

As part of Crystal Cruises' renowned Crystal Visions Enrichment Program, some of the brightest names in entertainment, journalism, politics and literature are confirmed to travel aboard one or more of the shorter World Voyage segments.

The entire World Cruise features Crystal's Wine & Food Festival with world-renowned chefs and wine experts sharing their talents at lectures, special meals and tastings, both on board and ashore.

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Celebrity Cruises Launches Innovative Rewards Card
Celebrity Rewards WorldPoints Visa Offers Cruise and Non-cruise Vacation Benefits

MIAMI, Nov. 4 -- Celebrity Cruises has joined with MBNA America Bank to create a comprehensive rewards credit card offering both cruise and non-cruise vacation benefits, including travel, merchandise and cash rewards. According to Celebrity, the Celebrity Rewards(SM) WorldPoints Visa® credit card is designed for people seeking ways to balance their work and leisure time. 

"Our new rewards card is designed for socially active people who are interested in travel, culture, cuisine, art and a taste of luxury," said Celebrity's Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales Steve Hancock. "It's ideally suited for people interested in an innovative new way to reward themselves and those they care about with the broadest array of choices of any credit card available."

Utilizing WorldPoints(SM) developed by MBNA, holders of the Celebrity Rewards WorldPoints Visa credit card will be able to redeem WorldPoints for travel on major U.S. airlines with no blackout dates, or for leading hotel and car rental arrangements in the U.S., as well as for brand-name merchandise and gift certificates, and unlimited cash rewards for additional vacation enjoyment.

Cardholders also will receive the following benefits:

  • Double points for purchases of Celebrity Cruises vacations or onboard products and services

  • Points for everyday purchases at grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants, or for recurring monthly bills

  • The benefits of "MyConcierge," an exclusive, 24-hour personal concierge service offering assistance with reservations at restaurants, tickets to sporting events or theaters, travel planning, flowers, birthday or other gift orders and special deliveries.

Celebrity introduced the new Celebrity Rewards Visa credit card on October 28, and is actively marketing to past guests and first-time cruisers. Additionally, with its travel agent partners and MBNA, Celebrity will solicit cardholders from among 20 million experienced cruisers and land-based travelers.

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Holland America Line Introduces Groundbreaking New
 Culinary Arts Program
Enrichment Program Focuses on Food & Wines, Bringing Exotic Destinations to Life 

SEATTLE, Nov. 3 -- Holland America Line announced that it is continuing to enhance guests' onboard experience with the introduction of the groundbreaking Culinary Arts Program across its entire fleet of five- star ships. The new program integrates passengers' love for fine food and wine with an entertaining enrichment experience. Special gourmet presentations, demonstrations, tasting events and intimate cooking classes highlight cuisine that reflects the ship's itinerary or different special occasions. Holland America Line has long been famous for its innovative culinary concepts. Working together with renowned Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, Holland America Line has developed a program to continue that tradition, allowing guests an interesting way to immerse themselves in the rich culture and unique traditions of the many fascinating ports of call that Holland America Line visits. During every sailing Holland America Line's exceptional onboard culinary experts, lead the demonstrations, classes and tastings. Celebrity and guest regional chefs will participate on select cruises.

The new Culinary Arts Center is located in the Wajang Theatre or, on Vista-class ships, in the Queens Lounge. As the hub for these interactive gourmet experiences, the Culinary Arts Center features a state-of-the-art show kitchen outfitted with premier tools and equipment from industry leaders such as Wolf, Sub Zero and Kitchen Aid. Guests in the audience get an up-close view of the cooking action on large, plasma screens while broadcast capabilities provide all guests the opportunity to watch these events from the comfort of their staterooms. In addition to the onstage kitchen, each Culinary Arts Center will have portable cooking stations where groups of up to 16 guests can participate in hands-on classes.

"We have always been committed to bringing our fascinating destinations to life," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales, Holland America Line. "To support our commitment, we have developed a comprehensive program that uses our guest's passion for fine food and wines as a way to complement our rich itineraries and provide guests with yet another way to savor the unique destinations they visit."

Holland America Line guests can attend several different culinary demonstration events during each cruise. These free, one-hour demonstrations will feature innovative cooking techniques and specially designed recipes that reflect the itinerary or a special occasion. In addition, several different cooking classes are offered for those guests who prefer to get in on the cooking action. These private, interactive sessions are US$19 per person. Participants will also receive a 10 percent discount at the renowned Pinnacle Grill restaurant or complimentary admission to the select wine tasting events.

Highlighting the Culinary Arts Program are several Culinary Signature Cruises, bringing acclaimed celebrity and regional chefs on board to lead guests on a culinary adventure, including themed lectures, wine and liquor tastings, seminars and related shore excursions. Celebrity chefs will host a variety of demonstrations and classes per cruise.

In addition to these large-scale Culinary Signature Cruises, Holland America Line will partner with celebrated regional chefs. Each ship will feature a regional chef at least four times per year who will help provide guests with an authentic taste of the destinations they visit. For example, a Culinary cruise aboard the ms Ryndam in March features renowned chef, author and restaurateur, Richard Sandoval. Sandoval will lead demonstrations and classes inspired by the delicious cuisine from the interesting port cities visited during the 10-day cruise to the Mexican Riviera and Sea of Cortez. Born in Acapulco, this dynamic chef will share with guests how he's helped evolve Mexican cuisine through the recipes and fare served in his modern Mexican restaurants. Sandoval will also host and exclusive dinner in the Pinnacle Grill, featuring premier Mexican wines and tequilas.

The Culinary Arts Program debuts on the ms Ryndam in October during a cruise to the Mexican Riviera and will be rolled out to all ships in Holland America Line's five-star fleet by the end of 2006.

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Carnival Takes Home 11 Porthole 'Readers Choice' Awards

MIAMI, Nov 3 -– Once again, Carnival Cruise Lines was the big winner in Porthole Magazine’s “Readers Choice” awards, taking top honors in 11 different categories,  the most of any cruise line for the sixth consecutive year. Since the awards were established in 1999, Carnival has earned 61 “Readers Choice” awards, more than any other cruise line. Porthole’s “Readers Choice” awards are based on write-in and e-mail surveys from thousands of the publication’s readers. 

Carnival’s 2004 awards include:

Best Value for the Money Line 
Best Cabin Service 
Best Alternative Dining Room Cuisine 
Best Children's Programs 
Best Entertainment 
Best Overall Facilities for Physically Challenged Passengers 
Most Spacious Average Cabin 
Best Short-Duration Cruise 
Best Onboard Activities 
Best Disco 
Best Party Ship

“To be recognized in so many different categories year after year is a gratifying endorsement of our company’s efforts in providing our guests with high quality, affordable vacations. We are very grateful to the readers of Porthole for acknowledging our ongoing commitment to excellence in every aspect of the ‘Fun Ship’ cruise experience,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO.

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Celebrity Cruises’ Zenith Returns to Jacksonville
Ship to offer cruises November 3 – April 10

Jacksonville, FL – Celebrity Cruises’ 1,375-guest ship Zenith has returned to Jacksonville, beginning a six-month series of cruises with a four-night departure today to Nassau and CocoCay in the Bahamas. The 47,255-ton Zenith will then offer a series of 14-night cruises from JAXPORT to the Southern and Western Caribbean, through April 10, 2005. (The ship’s last cruise, departing April 10, is for 11 nights.)

In October 2003, the Zenith became the first cruise ship to provide regular service from Jacksonville, offering six months of cruising through early 2004 as a test of the local market. The ship, which left for the summer, has returned to JAXPORT for its second cruise season. The Zenith’s Southern Caribbean cruises from Jacksonville include ports of call in San Juan (Puerto Rico); St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands); Basseterre (St. Kitts); St. George (Grenada); Bridgetown (Barbados); Philipsburg (St. Maarten); Nassau and CocoCay (Bahamas). Meanwhile, Western Caribbean sailings include stops in Labadee (Hispaniola); Ochos Rios (Jamaica); Georgetown (Grand Cayman); Puerto Limon (Costa Rica); Colon, (Panama); Roatan (Honduras); Costa Maya (Mexico); and Key West.

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Seabourn Number One in Annual Swiss Travel Star Awards

MIAMI, Nov 3, 2004 -- Swiss travel agencies voted Seabourn Cruise Line their favorite cruise company in an annual survey conducted by the travel magazine Travel Inside. The company received the first-place Gold Award for its onboard product and for its service to agencies. 

"The Travel Star Award is especially gratifying to us," said Seabourn president Deborah L. Natansohn, "Switzerland is really the Holy Land of the hospitality industry. Their standards are very high indeed, and we are extremely proud that our ships and our staff have been recognized for meeting the expectations of these agents and their clients."

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Crystal Cruises Announces Reduced Business Class Air Rates With Asia and European Cruises 

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 3 -- Crystal Cruises is introducing reduced business class air upgrade fares with its spring 2005 Asia cruises aboard Crystal Harmony and 2005 European cruises aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. The special business class air upgrades, available from most major gateways in the U.S. and Canada, are in addition to Crystal Cruises' published coach class add-on fares. The new upgraded air deals represent approximately 50% off unrestricted business class air fares to Asia and 35% lower than unrestricted business class air fares to Europe.

For additional information, please contact a travel agent or call 866-446-6625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Princess Publishes New Australia/South Pacific Brochure
Perfect Tool for Planning an Escape "Down Under" or to Idyllic Island Paradises 

SANTA CLARITA, CA (Nov 2, 2004) - From beaches and swaying palms to kangaroos and koalas, Princess' new Australia South Pacific brochure can help travelers choose the perfect cruise or cruisetour to this often dreamed of part of the world. The 82-page booklet includes information on Princess' Australia/New Zealand cruises, Australia cruisetours, Hawaii cruises, French Polynesia voyages from Tahiti, and a variety of special Connoisseur Adventure Voyages. Each section features a handy new port finder to show at a glance which itineraries feature which ports. 

Princess' Australia/South Pacific choices between May 2005 and April 2006 include:

  • Diamond Princess' Heads Down Under -- Diamond Princess will take over from Sapphire Princess as the largest and most amenity-filled vessel to ever sail "Down Under," offering a longer, three-month Australia/New Zealand season between January 8 and April 2, 2006. These popular 12-day sailings take in the best of both countries with a Sydney/Auckland itinerary and calls at Melbourne, Hobart (Tasmania), Dunedin, Christchurch, Tauranga and scenic cruising through Fiordland National Park.

  • Australia Cruisetours -- Australia/New Zealand passengers also have the option of adding one of three Australia land options to create a full cruisetour vacation. These five- to seven-day tour choices include such choices as a catamaran ride to the Great Barrier Reef, a visit to the "capital of the tropical north" Cairns, and the opportunity to visit Desert Park in Alice Springs as well as see the famed Ayers Rock.

  • Island Princess to the Hawaiian Islands -- Island Princess returns for a second season of 15-day round-trip cruises to the tropical paradise of Hawaii from Los Angeles. The series features 15 departures between September 23, 2005 and April 21, 2006 - including a special holiday voyage on December 22, during which the ship will celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's all on one cruise. The itinerary will take passengers to all of Hawaii's major islands with visits to Hilo, Kona, Honolulu, Nawiliwili (Kauai) and Lahaina (Maui).

  • Year-Round French Polynesia and the South Pacific -- Tahitian Princess' continues to sail throughout the season in the beautiful waters of French Polynesia and will offer two unique 10-day itineraries - Polynesia & the Cook Islands and Polynesia & the Marquesas Islands. Both routes feature scenic cruising along the picturesque island of Tahaa, plus calls in Moorea, Raiatea and Bora Bora; and passengers can choose whether to visit Rarotonga in the Cook Islands or the more remote Marquesas with scenic cruising through the atolls of the Tuamotu Archipelago.

  • Tahiti/Hawaii -- For the best of both South Pacific destinations, Tahitian Princess and Pacific Princess each offer 11- or 12-day sailings between Papeete and Honolulu. With departures on May 3 and May 7 respectively, both ships call at Moorea, Bora Bora, Christmas Island, Hilo, Maui and Kauai.

  • Connoisseur Adventure Voyages -- Princess once again offers a selection of special, longer voyages that travel between continents or major destinations. Pacific Princess offers several sailings, including Princess' very popular 25-day Islands of the Pacific Theater route on May 29, 2005, featuring calls at many of WWII's important battle sites between Honolulu and Beijing. Pacific Princess will also sail on a 28-day Indian Ocean/Australia voyage from Cape Town to Sydney, departing September 10, 2005. Diamond Princess will depart on April 14, 2006 on a 29-day Pacific crossing with a Hawaii/Tahiti/South Pacific voyage that sails between Sydney and San Francisco.

Copies of Princess' new brochure are available from professional travel agents or by clicking on the "Brochures" link at

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Celebrity Cruises Sets Sail From the Port of Galveston
Galaxy's Inaugural Sailing from Texas Doubles as Annual Veterans' Victory Cruise

GALVESTON, TX, Nov. 1 -- The world's top-rated premium cruise line, Celebrity Cruises, today sets sail for the first time from the Port of Galveston, Texas, with a sold-out cruise, including a more than 300-member group of veterans who served in major conflicts ranging from World War II to the current war in Iraq.

"We are very pleased to welcome guests from the great state of Texas and beyond, and are honored that a revered group of war veterans chose the Galaxy as the platform for their annual 'Veterans' Victory Cruise,'" said Celebrity's Senior Vice President of Marketing & Sales Steve Hancock. "We appreciate the warm reception from the Port of Galveston and public officials, and are thrilled to offer travelers a new option in premium cruising from such a charming and hospitable community."

Galaxy departs round-trip from Galveston on 11- and 12-night Panama Canal cruises through April 2005, with visits to Cozumel, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; the historic Panama Canal; Cristobal Pier, the port serving Colon and Panama City; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Georgetown, Grand Cayman, and Montego Bay, Jamaica. Fares begin at $1,100 per person, based on double occupancy.

Celebrity concludes its first season of sailing from Galveston with a new, 16-night transatlantic cruise departing May 7, with ports of call in Key West, Florida; Nassau, Bahamas; Ponta Delgada, Azores; Funchal, Madeira; Gibraltar, U.K.; Villefranche (for Nice and Monte Carlo), France, ending in Civitavecchia (for Rome), Italy, where Galaxy begins her 2005 season in Europe.

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

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