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News from the world of cruising ~
November 1-15, 2002

For schedule changes & departure information on a specific cruise line or port of call, please select Latest Updates by Cruise Line

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AAA Offers Travel Tips for Cruise Passengers Concerned about Virus

ORLANDO, FL, Nov. 22, 2002--Although the outbreak of a contagious stomach virus on cruise ships has caused concern among some travelers who will be taking a cruise between now and the end of year, the outbreak has affected less than 1 percent of all cruise passengers, according to AAA.

"It is understandable that some people are concerned about the reports of flu-like illnesses on cruise ships, but it should be noted that of the nearly 7.5 million Americans who will cruise this year, only about 1,400 cases have been reported," said AAA Travel Vice President Sandra Hughes.

The most recent outbreak included 100 out of the ship's 3,200 passengers contracting the infectious and fairly easily transmitted disease. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has reported there have been no indications on any of the 11 ships involved that the illness was due to anything on the ships. The illness is spread wherever people congregate and are in close contact with infected persons, including through sharing food, water, eating utensils or other items. The virus itself is not life-threatening.

Hughes suggests the following common-sense tips for anyone who might find themselves in an environment where the illness is prevalent, whether or not it is on a cruise ship:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly;
  • Try to avoid others who may be infected;
  • When eating seafood, make sure it is fully cooked.

"The good news for those who may contract the illness is that it typically runs its course in 24-48 hours," Hughes said.

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Travel Insurance Top of Mind for Americans Traveling 
Over the Holidays

One Year After 9/11: Travel Insurance Sales Indicate Travelers are Concerned About Safety and Security

STEVENS POINT, Wis., Nov. 22 -- It's estimated that a record number of the more than 5 million Americans taking to the air during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday will be protecting their trips with travel insurance. According to officials at Travel Guard International, sales for the holiday travel season are brisk and well ahead of last year. Through October, Travel Guard's retail travel insurance sales are 78 percent higher over last year at this time, as more consumers are turning to travel insurance for the increased safety and security it provides.

"The expected increase in holiday air travel is a good sign that travel is finally returning to pre-September 11th, 2001 levels," said John Noel, CEO of Travel Guard International. "Over the past 12-14 months, we've found that more leisure travelers than ever before want somewhere to turn if the unexpected happens. Beyond insured benefits, travel insurance has really become a worldwide '9-1-1' type service for Americans traveling domestically or abroad."

According to a survey commissioned by the American Automobile Association (AAA), about 5.1 million Americans plan to fly during the Thanksgiving holiday, up 6 percent from last year. The survey also found that 35.9 million Americans plan to travel 50 miles or more during the holiday, up from last year's 35.3 million.

Travel Guard has responded to the desire for broader travel assistance services by including the company's "Livetravel" service with all of its retail travel insurance policies. Livetravel offers travelers 24/7 access to trained travel consultants who can make emergency or last-minute travel changes such as rebooking flights, hotels and ground transportation. Other travel assistance available from Travel Guard includes worldwide medical referrals, lost luggage tracking, replacement of lost prescriptions and emergency cash wire transfers.

Noel noted that consumers are becoming savvier about the nuances of travel insurance policies, and are looking for policies that include coverage for travel supplier bankruptcy and terrorist incidents. "Our retail travel insurance policies include financial default protection if the cruise line, airline or tour operator goes out of business," says Noel. "We also provide coverage for a terrorist incident that occurs in a city listed on the Insured's itinerary within 30 days of the Insured's scheduled arrival, either in the United States or abroad." Both financial default and terrorism benefits are subject to the terms and conditions of the policy.

Travel Guard markets travel insurance and assistance plans through approximately 60 percent of the retail travel agencies in the United States. Consumers can also purchase travel insurance online or by calling 1-800-826-1300. Terms and conditions of coverage may vary by state. Visit for complete details.

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Discovery Cruise Line Rated Best One-Day Cruise

MIAMI, Nov. 22 -- Discovery Cruise Line, the largest tour operator to Grand Bahama Island carrying over 200,000 passengers annually, has received Porthole Cruise Magazine's 2002 Readers' Choice Award for "Best One- Day Cruises." Porthole Cruise Magazine is one of the most highly respected travel publications geared to the cruise and destination traveler.

"We are delighted to receive this prestigious award from such an outstanding publication," said Hanns J. Hahn, General Manager of Discovery. "It is testimony to the hard work of our entire crew and staff, who are the ones responsible for the high quality cuisine, service and entertainment that are our trademarks," said Hahn.

Discovery sails daily from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Grand Bahama Island, and offers Cruise 'N Stay Vacations in South Florida and Grand Bahama Island, as well as same day round trip return cruises. It also offers Fly and Cruise Vacations, in conjunction with Spirit Airlines, for those desiring transportation from their originating city to Ft. Lauderdale, and then on to Grand Bahama Island on Discovery Cruise Line. For more information, call 1-800-93-SHIPS or visit our web site at

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Miami, 11/20/02 - NCL's popular Homeland Cruising program just got bigger! The leader in round trip seven day cruising from U.S. and Canadian ports announced today a further fleet expansion and the addition of three new U.S. home ports - Baltimore, Houston and New Orleans - taking to 12 the number of U.S. ports from which cruisers can go Freestyle Cruising with NCL. Crown Odyssey, currently in the group's Orient Lines brand, will be remodeled for Freestyle Cruising and transferred into the NCL brand in the fall of 2003 as part of a broad redeployment affecting two other NCL ships also.

With these changes, NCL's ships will now sail on roundtrip itineraries seasonally from Baltimore, Boston, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Orlando (Port Canaveral), San Juan, Seattle and Vancouver, and year round from Miami, Houston and Honolulu.

"Homeland Cruising has been well received by cruisers and travel agents alike since we introduced it a year ago and it is now very much the focus of our expansion plan for NCL," said Colin Veitch, chief executive officer and president of Norwegian Cruise Line and Orient Lines. "We have brought the ships to the consumers rather than asking them to fly across country to get to the ships. This has been so successful that we have been looking at ways of adding more ships to the program, and we have decided that bringing Crown Odyssey back into the NCL fleet will allow us to open up several more Homeland ports. By making this switch we are now able to look forward to commencing operations in two exciting new ports and also returning to Houston where, back in 1997, we were the first line to offer a Texas-based cruise."

Changes for 2003 and beyond include:

  • Crown Odyssey will be transferred to NCL in September 2003, when she begins a series of 11-day Canada/New England sailings from Baltimore with prices starting at $1599 per person. She then takes over Norwegian Dream's previously scheduled South American itinerary for the 2003 Winter/Spring season. In May 2004, she will take over Norwegian Sea's Philadelphia and New York based 7-day sailings to Bermuda through October before heading to South America again for the Winter;
  • Norwegian Sea will move to Houston, Texas commencing in November 2003 after her Summer Bermuda season. From then on, she will be based in Houston year round sailing a 7-day, four-port exotic Western Caribbean itinerary with prices starting at $399 per person. NCL is the only major cruise line to sail from Houston rather than Galveston, and the only cruise line offering a year-round ship. According to Veitch: "Houston's attraction over Galveston, from a consumer standpoint, is that it is much closer to the population center of Houston and the suburbs. It is also much closer to George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston for passengers flying in from other parts of the U.S. and Canada."
  • Norwegian Dream heads to New Orleans in November 2003 where she will spend the Winter and Spring sailing a 7-day, four-port exotic Western Caribbean itinerary with prices starting at $399 per person. She will continue her very popular Summer season in Scandinavia/Russia in April and her Canada/New England fall program from Boston.

"Houston and New Orleans are great drive up markets as well as extremely attractive ports of embarkation, especially for consumers in the western half of the United States who won't have to catch the red-eye all the way to the East Coast in order to experience a Western Caribbean cruise," Veitch added. "NCL opened up cruising from the Gulf ports in 1997 with our breakthrough Texaribbean program from Houston and we are excited to be going back there after an absence of over two years. Norwegian Sea has done her job opening up New York for us and now the new Norwegian Dawn will take over there. We are now looking forward to building on the original success we had in Houston."

Norwegian Sea enters dry-dock in January 2003 where she will undergo a multi-million dollar retrofit. She will launch her Houston year-round cruises beginning Saturday, November 8th, 2003 to the Exotic Western Caribbean, calling at Cozumel, Mexico, Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize, and Cancun, Mexico.

Norwegian Dream will begin her New Orleans run on Sunday, November 2, 2003 when she will begin sailing a series of 7-day cruises to Cozumel, Mexico, Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize, and Cancun, Mexico.

On February 12, 2003, Crown Odyssey will go into dry dock in Singapore where significant changes will be undertaken. Three restaurants will be added including NCL's signature Le Bistro, an Italian pasta café and a covered al fresco dining café. The ship will also have a state-of-the-art fitness center and children's activity area added. The spa and casino will both be expanded and a number of additional cabins will be added.

After she concludes her Spring India and Africa CruiseTours and completes her Summer 2003 Mediterranean season (April 28th through Sept. 1st), Crown Odyssey will enter the NCL fleet on September 15, 2003 with a series of four 11-day Canada/New England sailings from Baltimore. She then repositions to Miami on Saturday, November 1, 2003 before beginning her Chilean Fjords/Strait of Magellan cruises on Sunday, November 16, 2003. On Monday, March 22, 2004 she repositions from Miami to Philadelphia beginning her Spring season sailing to Bermuda on Sunday, April 4, 2004. She repositions to New York to continue sailing to Bermuda beginning Sunday, May 30, 2004.

Orient Lines' Marco Polo continues successful Antarctic itineraries in 2004/05 and offers expanded European programs in 2004 Earlier than ever before, Orient Lines will announce its 2004/05 schedule for Marco Polo, the line's 826-passenger vessel. Highlights include a first time British Isle cruise from Britain, a continuation of her popular Scandinavia cruises, an expanded Mediterranean season and a return to Antarctica in 2004/05. Details of itineraries will follow in the next few weeks.

"Marco Polo has an incredible following with our guests who enjoy her destination-rich itineraries and inclusive CruiseTour packages with first class or deluxe hotel stays pre or post cruise, " Veitch said. "With the transfer back of Crown Odyssey, Orient Lines reverts to its original status as an exclusive one-ship line and we are committed to offering the same award winning experience to Marco Polo's guests (and fan club) for years to come."

For further information on NCL, contact a travel agent or NCL in the U.S. and Canada at (800) 327-7030; in Miami-Dade County, Fla., (305) 436-0866; visit NCL's web site at For more information about Orient Lines, please call a travel agent, or Orient Lines directly toll free at (800) 333-7300 or visit

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New CLIA Study Shows Growth in Interest in Cruising
 Among All Vacation Travelers

NEW YORK, Nov. 20 - The future of the cruise industry looks bright, according to the latest research conducted for Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) by NFO Plog Research. In its biannual Market Profile Study, CLIA reports that the number of Americans who stated their intent to "definitely" or "probably" take a cruise within the next three years has risen to nearly 44.3 million, a new record. Plog researchers estimated that this level of interest likely will translate into continued market growth that will result in nearly 27 million people taking a cruise vacation during the next three years.

The study found that for the majority of respondents, interest in taking a cruise vacation has remained strong over the past two years. Where interest levels have changed, they are more than twice as likely to have increased (32%) than to have decreased (14%). "The study shows that half (56%) of those who have ever cruised have done so in the last five years," says Bob Sharak, CLIA's executive director. "And the number of people interested in cruising continues to grow. The cruise industry is consistently working to add to its pool of satisfied cruisers by adding new ships, itineraries and amenities than ever before to the many options available to today's cruiser, so there truly is a cruise for everyone."

Cruising continues to earn high grades in the satisfaction department. The percentage of respondents indicating extreme satisfaction with cruising continues to lead all other types of vacations and even increased by 9 percentage points compared to the study done two years ago.

The study found that cruising was rated as better than other vacation
in the following key areas:

     Fine dining (70%)
     Being pampered (69%)
     Chance to visit several different locations (67%)
     Luxury (67%)

In particular, nearly 70% of past cruisers consider a cruise a better value for the money than other kinds of vacation experiences. Large activity-packed ships appeal to three out of five (62%) Americans. Two in five find cruises that travel to cultural destinations (45%), upscale luxury ships (41%), or cruises on a new ship (41%) appealing.

When it comes to destinations, the Caribbean tops the list of places that appeal to cruisers and non-cruise intenders, followed by Alaska. The Bahamas hold more appeal for intenders while Europe (including Mediterranean/Greek Islands/Turkey) has a greater appeal to cruisers. Other appealing places are Hawaii, the Panama Canal, Bermuda, and the West Coast of Mexico. Destination cruisers, who appear more adventurous, are more likely to select South America or Asia than other groups.

Past cruisers are more likely to want longer cruises than non-cruisers; the vast majority of potential cruisers expect to take a cruise of at least six days. In all, CLIA estimates that 15 percent of the U.S. population has ever taken a cruise, a marked increase from the 3.6 percent who had ever cruised 1986, the first year the Market Profile Study was commissioned.  According to the CLIA study, prime cruise vacation prospects are on average 47 years old and have a household income of $63,000. Spouses (65%) are the most common cruise companions. With one cruise vacationer in five (18%) bringing children, the study confirms the growing importance of families to the cruise market

The strongest target for future cruises is the former cruiser market. Seven in 10 (71%) former cruisers indicate that they have an interest in cruising again in the next three years. Of that same group, 70% have taken multiple voyages. Cruisers are frequent travelers -- they average almost 5 trips each year, approximately one-third of which are cruises.

For the next 12 months, most people believe there will be little change from their travel behavior in the past 12 months. Slightly more believe they will be traveling more (17%) as believe they will be traveling less (14%). The most common reason for reduction in travel plans now compared to a year ago is personal economic concern (26%); less common reasons are increased travel hassles (14%) and the effects of Sept. 11 (11%).

The CLIA Market Profile Study is conducted every two years by an independent research organization. A sample of 2,000 adults age 25 years and older and with household incomes of $20,000 and above were interviewed by telephone. About 144.3 million people (51% of the total U.S. population) are included in the sample definition.

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Elemis Day-Spa London Voted Europe's Leading Day-Spa

NASSAU, The Bahamas, Nov. 21, 2002--Steiner Leisure Limited announced that its Elemis Day Spa, London, was recently voted Europe's Leading Day Spa for 2002 by travel agents worldwide as polled by World Travel Awards Limited

Sean Harrington, Managing Director of Steiner Leisure's Elemis Limited subsidiary, commented, "I am delighted that the Elemis Day Spa has been recognized as the leading day spa in Europe. Winning an award such as this, which reflects the views of the travel business, is a significant industry endorsement of our Elemis products and related services and recognition of our many years of hard work and commitment."

Steiner Leisure Limited is a worldwide provider of spa services. The Company's operations include spas and salons on 105 cruise ships, and in 52 resort spas and 17 luxury day-spas. Our cruise line and land-based resort customers include Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Disney Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Holland America Lines, Marriott, Park Place Entertainment and Kerzner International. Elemis Limited manufactures its Elemis® brand for use in our cruise ships and land-based spas. This top quality European line of beauty products is also distributed worldwide to exclusive hotels, salons, health clubs and destination spas. Elemis®, as well as other Steiner private label products, including La Therapie®, Ionithermie, and Steiner Hair Care, are available at

Steiner Leisure also owns and operates three post secondary schools (comprised of a total of eight campuses) located in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Sarasota, Florida; Baltimore, Maryland; York, Pennsylvania; and Charlottesville and Winchester, Virginia. Offering degree and non-degree programs in massage therapy and skin care, these schools train and qualify spa professionals for health and beauty positions within the Steiner family of companies or other industry entities.

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March 2003 Journey to Introduce Guests to the Best of The European Fine Art Fair

New York, NY (November, 2002) - Each March, collectors, art enthusiasts and the royalty of Europe flock to the picturesque town of Maastricht, Holland, for The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF).  Known as the world's greatest art and antiques fair, TEFAF is a dazzling array of paintings, drawings, sculpture, furniture, jewelry, silver, ceramics, books, and more, offered by the most eminent international dealers. 

Making travel to Maastricht easier and more luxurious than ever, the deluxe River Cloud - the most stylish riverboat afloat on the rivers of Europe - will host its guests on an annual cruise to visit this glamorous event.  River Cloud's 2003 TEFAF tour is scheduled for a one-week departure between Brussels and Amsterdam, March 18-25, 2003.  Prices begin at $3,050 per person.

Leisurely traveling historic canals and waterways through Belgium and Holland from Brussels to Amsterdam, guests of the River Cloud will explore the artistic treasures along the way.  A day in Amsterdam will feature visits to the van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum, which houses the largest art collection in the Netherlands with works by Vermeer, Rembrandt and Jan Steen.  Other highlights include a visit to the atmospheric city of Antwerp with its late-medieval architecture, and a look at contemporary art in Arnhem at the Museum Voor Moderne Koonst.   The centerpiece of the journey will be three days in the celebrated Dutch town of Maastricht at TEFAF, the largest and most impressive international art fair.

In the lounge on board and on escorted tours, guests will be treated to entertaining talks by renowned art expert Michel Witmer.  French-born and Oxford-educated, Mr. Witmer has extensive experience in European fine art and has lectured at institutions including the Louvre, the Tate Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Musee d' Orsay, the Centre Pompidou and the National Gallery of Art in London.  Dubbed the "art guru" by his clients, he has been featured on CNN, CNBC and Bloomberg Television, and will offer the guests of the River Cloud unparalleled insights into artistic treasures and local history. 

On board the River Cloud, which is specially designed for luxury cruising on Europe's waterways, guests enjoy casual elegance and warm hospitality. Amenities include a fitness room and sauna, a full library, a putting green and giant chessboard. Lavish gourmet cuisine, accompanied by fine wines, is served in the vessel's elegant restaurant and the expert staff is eager to help make every cruise a truly memorable experience.  The 90-passenger River Cloud, one of four luxury vessels operated by Sea Cloud Cruises, was launched in 1996.

For more information on the River Cloud cruise to TEFAF, contact Events of Distinction Plus, Inc. at 212-541-4970 or email For general information on the River Cloud or other Sea Cloud Cruises vessels, call Sea Cloud Cruises at (888) 732-2568 or visit their website at

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Seabourn 2004 Winter/Spring Brochure Now Available
Full-Color Catalogue Highlights South Pacific, Central and South America

MIAMI, Nov. 20 -- Ultra luxury small-ship specialist Seabourn Cruise Line has published a brochure giving full details of cruising itineraries, fares and savings options for its three all-suite Yachts of Seabourn in the first quarter of 2004.

The 28-page, full color 2004 brochure is inserted into the back-cover pocket of Seabourn's 20-page shipboard product brochure. The resulting combination is a handsome, easy-to-use vacation guide for travelers seeking a pampered, personalized experience between January and April of 2004.

Highlighted in the 2004 brochure are exotic cruises of 11 to 18 days exploring Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam and Thailand aboard Seabourn Spirit. Also included are Seabourn Journeys combining luxury land extensions in India with cruises of Myanmar and the Red Sea.

Seabourn Pride's 72-day circumnavigation of South America is described, as well as individual cruises of seven to 18 days exploring the continent's various regions from the Inca Coast, Patagonia and Cape Horn to the vibrant cities of Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's northeast and the splendors of the Amazon.

Seabourn Legend's season will encompass a series of adventurous 14-day cruises in Central America, featuring the natural wonders of Costa Rica, Belize and Panama. The 208-guest ship also offers one-week cruises of Seabourn's Uncommon Caribbean.

Transatlantic sailings carrying Seabourn Pride and Legend guests to Europe in the spring round out the menu of ultra luxury travels outlined in the brochure.

Savings options for 2004 include Early Booking Savings up to 50 percent; Combo Savings of an additional 10 percent for combining two cruises totaling up to 17 days and Grand Voyage Savings up to 50 percent for combinations totaling 18 or more days. To order the Yachts of Seabourn 2004 Winter/Spring brochure, contact a travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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Carnival Corporation Declares Fourth Quarter Dividend

MIAMI, Nov. 20 -- Carnival Corporation announced that its Board of Directors declared a regular quarterly dividend of 10.5 cents per share for the fourth quarter ending November 30, 2002. The dividend is payable on December 16, 2002, to shareholders of record on November 30, 2002.

Carnival Corporation is comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, the world's largest cruise line based on passengers carried, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Seabourn Cruise Line and Windstar Cruises. Carnival Corporation's six brands operate 45 ships in the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, Mexico, South America and other worldwide destinations. Additional information can be obtained via Carnival Corporation's Web site at

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Holland America to Cancel Sailing of ms Amsterdam; Ship Will Be Out of Service Nov. 21 for One Sailing

SEATTLE, Nov. 19 -- Holland America Line has announced that it is canceling the Nov. 21 sailing of the ms Amsterdam. All other Holland America Line and ms Amsterdam sailings will operate as scheduled. The Nov. 21st sailing has been canceled in order to break the person-to-person cycle of a common gastrointestinal ailment called Norwalk Like Virus (NLV) and to provide peace of mind to future guests on the ms Amsterdam.

NLV is currently circulating in North America and Europe. Often referred to as the "stomach flu" although it is not flu, it typically runs its course in 24 to 48 hours. Only the common cold is reported more frequently. It is most likely that the virus came aboard ship in the form of an infected passenger, who in turn passed it to other passengers and crewmembers. The Company's considerable efforts to combat the virus have included removing passengers and crew with NLV symptoms from the ship coupled with vigorous cleaning and disinfecting protocols.

According to David A. Giersdorf, senior vice president, marketing and sales, Holland America Line, "In concert with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, the company has taken extraordinary measures to minimize the effect of the virus on our guests, which has limited the number of affected guests and crew on the current sailing. Our commitment is to ensuring the comfort and safety of ms Amsterdam guests," continued Giersdorf.

"Holland America Line has been very proactive in dealing with this unfortunate virus," said Lieutenant Commander Jon Schoor, assistant deputy chief, vessel sanitation program, CDC. "Holland America has gone above and beyond the call of duty and we applaud their decision to pull the ship from service for one sailing."

"The ms Amsterdam will be back in service for the December 1 sailing," Giersdorf continued.

Passengers scheduled to sail on the Nov. 21 sailings are being notified in advance of travel and are being offered a number of attractive cruise alternatives, or a full cash refund and a future cruise savings credit.

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As More Children Visit Alaska, Crystal Cruises Slates 2003 Junior Activities Program Geared to the Last Frontier
The Number of Young Guests - Ages 17 and Under - Increases By More Than 10% in One Year

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 19 -- Well-known for its pampering service, fine dining, sophisticated entertainment and enrichment roster, Crystal Cruises surprises many with its supervised Junior Activities Program offered on summer and holiday sailings. In fact, luxury cruise specialist Crystal Cruises saw a 12% increase in its youngest cruisers, ages 17 and under, during its 2002 summer Alaska season. As family and extended family travel continues to rise, Crystal Cruises caters to children with a special Alaska program featuring a guest naturalist when Crystal Harmony cruises Glacier Bay.

The main venue for children's supervised activities, Fantasia, was refurbished in 2002 and outfitted with new furniture, carpet, and custom designed built-in kiosks for Sony Playstation(R) video games, and personal computers complete with entertainment and educational software.

The children's program is scheduled for Crystal Harmony's summer of eight 12-day departures conveniently round-trip from San Francisco: June 2, 14; July 8, 20; August 1, 13, 25; and September 6. Itineraries feature the Inside Passage and call at the Alaskan ports of Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Sitka; as well as Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia; and, depending on the sailing, cruising Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier or Tracey Arm.

"The goal of Crystal's onboard programming is to entertain and stimulate all our guests. The age-specific offerings in our Junior Activities Program are well-supervised, as this ensures that they, their families and independent travelers enjoy their cruise with us to the fullest," says Bret Bullock, vice president, entertainment.

During the 2003 summer Alaska season aboard Crystal Harmony, the entire state of Alaska serves as an enormous environmental classroom. Naturalists will add a special dimension to kids' understanding of indigenous wildlife, glaciers, and other natural attractions. The highly qualified staff of Junior Activities Directors includes grade school, high school, and physical education teachers on summer holiday, and seasoned camp counselors. There is at least one counselor for each 12 participants, a ratio that supports a variety of age-appropriate activities tiered for toddlers through teens, ranging from arts and crafts, backstage tours, dancing, Sony Playstation(R) games, and storytelling. For example, younger kids display their handcrafted creations, such as frosted sugar cube igloos, in an Alaska Art Expo open for viewing by all guests. For their older brothers and sisters, one high point is a 'teens only' disco night for which they get their own personal invitations.

The Six-Star rated Crystal Harmony has a host of child-pleasing amenities. In addition to Fantasia, the Library offers more than 1,500 titles, including a selection of children's books and children's videos for the televisions/VCRs that are standard in all staterooms, and the Trident Grill serves hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, sandwiches and frozen yogurt and ice cream throughout the afternoon. Young athletes can take advantage of the ship's paddle tennis court, golf-driving nets, and putting greens, and can even compete in their own mini-Olympics.

Accommodations are family-friendly. Three-bed staterooms are available in a range of categories, as well as suites and connecting staterooms. Cribs are available when requested in advance. Families may plan their days and nights according to "Surf Runner," the children's newsletter which details scheduled activities and is delivered to each child's stateroom the preceding evening. Ashore, there are several opportunities for multiple generations. In each port, Crystal Harmony offers optional excursions such as wilderness safaris, bear-watching expeditions, seaplane explorations, hiking, mountain biking, whitewater river rafting, horseback riding, and panning for gold.

The 12-day departures feature the line's "Value Collection" or "Perfect Harmony" pricing and begin at $2,775. All rates are per person, double occupancy. Children under 12 pay 50% of minimum fare when accompanied by two full-fare paying guests, and a child 12 or older in a third berth pays the minimum fare. Crystal Cruises is booked exclusively through professional travel agents. For a complimentary brochure on the 2003 Alaska season, or any of Crystal's worldwide sailings, call 800.820.6663.

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Holland America Line's ms Prinsendam to Sail Alaska From San Francisco In Summer 2003

SEATTLE, Nov. 19 -- Holland America Line has announced that its ms Prinsendam, the Elegant Explorer, will sail eight 14-day Golden Gateway Alaska cruises from San Francisco, beginning Saturday, May 17, 2003. The Prinsendam will also sail a new 23-day cruise from Hong Kong to San Francisco on April 25 and a 22-day Panama Canal cruise from San Francisco to Boston on September 10, 2003.

The Prinsendam, which was originally scheduled to operate cruises in Europe, will instead be redeployed to the Alaska market. "Given our overall capacity in Europe for 2003 -- including 11 sailings on our new, 1,848 passenger Oosterdam -- combined with the strong demand for more Holland America sailings from California and our leadership position in Alaska, this is a very positive move," said David A. Giersdorf, senior vice president, marketing and sales, Holland America Line. "And, with a 14-day itinerary from San Francisco, we are able to offer our most comprehensive and spectacular Alaska cruise itinerary ever. In fact, you would have to take two or three separate cruises to see everything offered on this voyage."

Departing every other Saturday from San Francisco, the 793-passenger ms Prinsendam sails under the Golden Gate Bridge on a comprehensive voyage to the famed Inside Passage of Alaska and British Columbia. Highlights of the journey will include the mammoth, five-mile-wide and forty-story-tall Hubbard Glacier and the startling mountains of Yakutat Bay, the imposing granite cliffs and twin Sawyer Glaciers of Tracy Arm, extensive shore excursion programs in Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan on their least crowded days, and the charm of less visited ports such as the wilderness outpost of Wrangell, very British Victoria, and scenic Astoria. Fares start at US$2,449 per person, double occupancy.

"With an exciting combination of massive glaciers and intimate glaciers, renown and remote ports, and stunning narrow channels, this itinerary showcases the Alaska cruising experience better than any other ship," added Giersdorf. "With only 793 passengers and eight sailings, this limited availability cruise is sure to be popular with cruisers in the Bay Area, as well as with the many past passengers of this much cherished ship."

The ms Prinsendam also added a 23-day Hong Kong to San Francisco sailing, departing April 25. This transpacific crossing will feature six ports as well as 14 days at sea. In addition, the cruise will offer scenic cruising in the famed inland Sea of Japan. The cruise will call at Shanghai, China; Nagasaki and Osaka, Japan; Petropavlovsk, Russia; Dutch Harbor and Kodiak, Alaska before arriving in San Francisco on May 17. Fares start at US$2,699 per person, double occupancy, including port charges.

Following the Alaska season, the Prinsendam will embark on a new 22-day Panama Canal cruise departing San Francisco on Sept 10, arriving Boston , Oct. 2. This cruise will feature ten ports of call including San Diego; Manzanillo and Huatulco, Mexico; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica; Oranjestad, Aruba; Half Moon Cay, Bahamas and Philadelphia. Fares start at US$2,979 per person, double occupancy.

Beginning Oct. 2, the Prinsendam will continue its previously published schedule of two Canada/New England cruises in the fall followed by a 21-day Panama Canal/South America cruise and a 30-day South Pacific/Hawaii sailing. And, as previously published the Prinsendam will sail a 17-day Holiday/Panama Canal cruise before departing Fort Lauderdale on a 108-day Grand World Voyage on Jan. 4, 2004.

Guests booked on any of the Prinsendam's canceled sailings may contact 800-577-1728, Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., PST. Special offers are available for a broad selection of sailings on Holland America Line's new 1,848 passenger Oosterdam which will sail eleven 12 and 14-day cruises in the Baltic, Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

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QE2 Named Best In Class By 2003 Berlitz Guide

MIAMI - For the fourth year running, Cunard's famous Queen Elizabeth 2 has garnered the maritime Oscar from Berlitz, besting all other vessels in the large-ship (over 1,000 passengers) category. The ship's Queens, Princess and Britannia grill accommodations were awarded five stars from the prestigious Berlitz guide to Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2003.

Author Doug Ward states, "If you occupy one of the top-level suites, with butler service and all the trimmings of finery, your experience should be nothing short of superb, highly civilised quiet living at sea. Grill Class is the most desirable and sophisticated way to cross the Atlantic."

"It is especially gratifying to receive this recognition as QE2's farewell transatlantic season is about to commence," said Deborah Natansohn, Cunard Line's senior vice president, sales and marketing, "QE2 is a travel icon and we know that these accolades from Berlitz echo a respect shared by a great many travelers worldwide."

Cunard's legendary QE2 is presently the only ship in the world offering regularly scheduled transatlantic crossings between Europe and North America. In 2003 the liner will celebrate her Farewell Transatlantic Season with 17 gala crossings from April through December. Beginning in 2004, the transatlantic route will be assumed by the line's new, $800-million Queen Mary 2, currently under construction. While 2003 marks the final series of crossings for QE2, the feted ship will continue to operate Cunard's annual World Cruise and will offer a full schedule of exciting new voyages departing from Southampton, England.

For more information about the Farewell Transatlantic Season of QE2, see a travel agent, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or visit Cunard Line has operated the most famous ocean liners in the world since 1840. The Cunard fleet has a classic British heritage and includes Queen Elizabeth 2 and Caronia. In December 2003, the line welcomes Queen Mary 2, the largest liner in the world, and in 2005 an as yet-unnamed newbuild.

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The Queen Mary to Celebrate 35 Years in Long Beach With Anniversary Celebration December 7th & 8th

LONG BEACH, CA, Nov. 19 -- It has been 35 years since the Queen Mary made Long Beach her permanent home. Today, it is difficult to imagine the Southern California coastline without her gigantic silhouette and three huge funnels. In honor of this special anniversary, there will be a Queen Mary 35th Anniversary Celebration December 7th & 8th to commemorate the 1967 arrival of the legendary ocean liner.

Saturday, December 7
35th Anniversary Flotilla
The celebration will begin on Saturday, December 7, 2002 with the Queen Mary 35th Anniversary Flotilla. This tribute is designed to re-enact the Queen Mary's 1967 arrival in Long Beach, where she was greeted with an armada of small boats -- including kayaks, sport fishers, yachts, ski boats and even a nuclear cruiser. The modern-day procession will sail along the coastline, where it will pass the Queen Mary. Any vessel may join in the flotilla, which will form at 8:30 a.m. near the eastern entrance to the Alamitos Bay jetty in preparation for a parade line to depart at 10:30 a.m. For a registration form or additional information, go to or call (562) 499-1603. Registration fee is $10 per vessel. Those who do not own boats may also join the Flotilla by booking passage aboard vessels provided by Harbor Breeze Cruises at (562) 432-4900. Boarding will be at Rainbow Harbor, Dock #2 at 9:00 a.m. for departure promptly at 9:30 a.m. to join the Flotilla. The cost is $25 for adults, $10 for children over two.

Arrival Ceremony. At 11:45 a.m. there will be an outdoor ceremony to mark the actual time the Queen Mary came through the breakwater into Long Beach Harbor 35 years ago. The event will be open to the public at no charge. Guests are invited to bring along their own Queen Mary memorabilia -- letters, photos, etc. -- to be placed in a Time Capsule. Items will be collected throughout the year, and the Time Capsule will then be sealed on December 9, 2003, and opened on the 100th Anniversary of the arrival in Long Beach on December 9, 2067.

Self-Guided Tours. Flotilla participants may also enjoy a self-guided tour of the Queen Mary. A flotilla registration form will need to be shown at the Queen Mary box office to admit up to 4 people on December 7 only. Attraction hours are 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Harbor Breeze Cruises passengers will also be admitted by showing their Flotilla ticket stub.

Buffet/Reception Fund-Raising Event. The launch for the weekend activities will be a buffet dinner from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the exhibit area at the stern of the ship hosted by Queen Mary President and CEO Joseph Prevratil. Guests will have an opportunity to meet and mingle, hear about the latest Queen Mary developments and view new exhibits, while supporting the important preservation work of the RMS Queen Mary Foundation. The cost is $50 for adults and $15 for children under 12. Guests may make reservations by calling (562) 499-1603.

Sunday, December 8
Day of Tribute. From 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., there will be a "Day of Tribute" lecture program. The day will feature speakers such as Renee Simon, author, "Destination Long Beach -- The Queen Mary Story," who will also be signing books; Ronald Smith, the ship's historian, recounting "The Last Great Cruise" from the photo archive; a Steamship Historical Society presentation; a lecture by maritime artist, Christopher Butler; passengers and crew members recounting their experiences from the final voyage, and more. You can also participate in the "open microphone" session and share your account of the Queen Mary's arrival in Long Beach. It will be recorded for the ship's archive. The cost for the day is $25 for adults and $10 for children under 12.

The Queen Mary offers an ideal close-to-home getaway in its 365-room on board hotel. The ship is also home to three award-winning restaurants, banquet and meeting facilities, a wedding chapel, and is open 365 days a year. While at the Queen Mary, explore a real Russian submarine, experience the Ghosts & Legends of the Queen Mary show or take a Behind-the-Scenes Guided Tour or a World War II Guided Tour. Parking is $8 per car. The public may call 562.435.3511 to inquire about special hotel packages, or to make hotel, restaurant or Sunday Brunch reservations. The Queen Mary is located at 1126 Queens Highway at the south end of the 710 Freeway, on the water in Long Beach, California. Visit for additional information.

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A Cruise May Be the Answer to Your Gift-Giving Dilemma

NEW YORK, Nov. 18 -- Instead of driving yourself crazy this holiday season trying to select "perfect" gifts for those nearest and dearest to you, why not consider one perfect gift to share--a cruise vacation. And a Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)-affiliated travel agency can help you find a cruise all those special people on your gift list will enjoy.

"A CLIA-affiliated agency is the ideal place for one-stop shopping this holiday season," says Bob Sharak, executive director of CLIA. "The gift of a cruise is a perfect fit for the entire family--it offers something for everyone. Plus, because of its inclusive nature, a cruise is a value that can't be beat."

A CLIA-affiliated agency can help you select the cruise that best matches those on your gift list and your holiday budget, whether it is a weekend escape, a week's vacation or a cruise around the world. And with more than 1,800 ports of call from which to choose, you will be sure to find a destination that will elicit smiles -- from the sun-drenched Caribbean to snow-covered Alaska and from the classical beauty of Europe to the exotic lands of the Far East.

For more information about cruising, contact one of the nearly 17,000 CLIA-affiliated travel agencies across the U.S. and Canada. To find one, visit CLIA's website at and click on the Cruise Expert Locator, or look for the blue, white and gold CLIA seal at your local travel agency.

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'Love Match' for Stefanie Graf and Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean Takes Delivery of New Navigator of the Seas, Names World Champion Tennis Pro Godmother

MIAMI, Nov. 18 -- International tennis star Stefanie Graf will serve as godmother of Royal Caribbean's newest ship, Navigator of the Seas, which was delivered to the company today in Turku, Finland. As godmother, Graf will officially give the ship its name during ceremonies on Dec. 6 in Miami. Navigator of the Seas is Royal Caribbean's newest Voyager-class ship, the largest cruise ships in the world, boasting a host of innovative features including rock-climbing walls, ice-skating rinks and in-line skating tracks.

"Stefanie Graf's constant pursuit of excellence and her untiring spirit and drive make her a champion, not just as an athlete who has contributed much to the world of sports, but also as a person who has contributed much to the world," said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. "We're honored to have her serve as the godmother of Navigator of the Seas."

A professional tennis player since the age of 13, Graf holds the record for having retained the No. 1 ranking position in the tennis world for the longest consecutive period, more than seven straight years. She is the only player ever to win a Golden Grand Slam--five international championships in a single year--and holds 22 Grand Slam titles overall. She retired from professional tennis in 1999.

Off the court, Graf is a champion of children and animal rights. She is the founder of "Children for Tomorrow," an international effort to aid and empower children traumatized by crisis and violence, and serves as an Ambassadress for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). She is married to Andre Agassi and has one son, 13-month-old Jaden Gil. Graf is the third world champion to serve as a godmother for Royal Caribbean's fleet and joins a distinguished list of godmothers, including Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Katarina Witt, Whoopi Goldberg, former first lady Roslyn Carter, Gloria Estefan, Lauren Bacall and Queen Sonja of Norway.

About Navigator of the Seas
Built by the Kvaerner Masa-Yards in Turku, Finland, Navigator of the Seas joins her three sister ships--Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas--as the world's largest and most innovative cruise vessels. In addition to their signature rock-climbing walls, ice skating rinks and in-line skating tracks, each of the ships offers unique amenities like the Royal Promenade dining and entertainment boulevard; Johnny Rockets restaurant; a 1,350-seat, state-of-the-art theater; and some of the largest spas and fitness centers afloat.

Brand new and unique to Navigator of the Seas are a variety of exciting features, including:

  • VINTAGES wine bar, the industry's first wine education/entertainment venue
  • Jade, an Asian fusion restaurant offering tastes of the Far East from Bangkok to Beijing
  • 6,000 additional square feet of youth space, for a total of 22,000 square feet, which includes three new ultra-hip, teen-only areas, The Living Room, Fuel, and The Back Deck

Beginning December 14, the ship will offer alternating, year-round, seven- night cruises to the Eastern and Western Caribbean departing Saturdays out of Miami. Ports of call include stops in the Bahamas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Mexico and Grand Cayman, as well as Royal Caribbean's private island paradise of Labadee, Hispanola.

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with 16 ships in service with the launch of Navigator of the Seas, and three more under construction or on firm order. For additional information about the cruise line, please visit the company's web site at or call 800-327-6700 for reservations.

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The cruise ship "Zuiderdam" delivered in Venice  

Trieste, 15th Nov 2002 - Tomorrow at the "Stazione Marittima" in Venice there will be the delivery ceremony for the passenger ship "Zuiderdam", commissioned from Fincantieri by the American shipbuilder Holland America Line, a member of the Carnival Group, the world's leading operator in the cruise sector. Representing Fincantieri for the occasion there will be the Chairman, Corrado Antonini, the Vice Chairman, Roberto Tana and the Chief Executive Officer, Giuseppe Bono, while Carnival will be represented by the Chairman, Micky Arison, and Holland America Line by its Executive, Stein Kruse.

"Zuiderdam", which cost approximately 400 millioni dollars, was built at Marghera shipyard and is the first in a series of five vessels which Fincantieri will build for Holland America Line. Delivery of her sister ships is scheduled for summer 2003 (the "Oosterdam"), spring 2004 (the "Westerdam"), autumn 2005 and spring 2006.

The "Vista" class vessels, at 84,000 gross tonnes and 290 metres long, will carry up to 3,200 people - 2,400 passengers and 800 crew - at a cruising speed of 22 knots; they comprise cutting edge technology and are the most luxuriously equipped of the ships built to date for Holland America Line's fleet. The ships also have innovative external lifts running along both sides of the vessel and spacious cabins provided with every comfort (85% of the cabins have a sea view).

The "Zuiderdam" brings the total of ships built over the last ten years by Fincantieri for the Carnival Group to fifteen and a further ten are scheduled to be built for the various companies within the Group (Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Crociere, Cunard Line) at the shipyards of Monfalcone, Marghera and Sestri Ponente. In economic terms this adds up to a to a revenue of nine billion dollars for Fincantieri.  Fincantieri was given the only two orders made by the market after the tragic events of 11 September 2001 and today can boast a market share of 40% in the cruise ship sector.

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Costa Fortuna launched in Genoa

Trieste/Genoa 11th Nov 2002 - The launch of the Costa Fortuna took place today at Fincantieri Sestri Ponente (Genoa) shipyard. The ship is the first of two ships commissioned by the Genoa-based company Costa Crociere in October 2000. Costa Fortuna will be the largest cruise ship ever to fly the Italian flag and now will be subjected to the final stages of work and fitting out, due for completion in November 2003. The Costa Fortuna is the first large passenger ship to emerge from the shipyards in Sestri Ponente since the Michelangelo in 1965, the same yard that built the legendary "Rex" (1931), "Andrea Doria" (1951), "Cristoforo Colombo" (1953), "Federico C" (1957) and "Leonardo da Vinci" (1958).

Some figures  of the new flagship of the Costa Crociere:

- 105,000 gross tonnage;
- maximum length of 272 metres and breadth of 38 metres;
- maximum capacity of 3,400 passengers, including 2,720 in lower berths;
- 1,068 crewmembers;
- 1,359 passenger cabins, of which 853 oceanview and 522 veranda cabins.

The entry into service of the Costa Fortuna is scheduled for the end of 2003.  Just twelve months later, her sister ship Costa Magica will also set sail. The first section of the Costa Magica is currently under construction at the Palermo yard and will be towed by sea to Sestri Ponente in the next weeks.

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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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