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News from the world of cruise travel
November 16-30, 2004

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

CDC Inspection Scores for all ships inspected--updated monthly

Carnival Valor is the Ultimate Family Vacation
110,000-ton ‘Fun Ship’ Set to Launch Year-Round Caribbean Service from Miami

MIAMI (Nov 30, 2004) – With expansive facilities such as a 4,200 square foot play area and a teen dance club/recreation area, as well as a variety of new and exciting activities, including an art program, a music program, a youth spa program, and hands-on science experiments, Carnival Valor will offer the ultimate family vacation experience. Currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, the new 110,000-ton “Fun Ship” is scheduled to begin year-round seven-day Caribbean service from Miami on Dec. 19.

“Families are one of the fastest growing markets in travel – Carnival alone is expected to host 500,000 kids this year, a 300 percent increase versus 10 years ago. The new Carnival Valor, with its full schedule of activities and spacious kid-friendly facilities, offers a fun and affordable vacation for the entire family,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. 

Expansive Facilities, Fun-Filled Activities
The focal point of the Carnival Valor’s “Camp Carnival” program is an expansive 4,200-square-foot enclosed play area that includes a 16-monitor video wall continuously displaying movies and cartoons; an arts-and-crafts center with spin and sand art and candy-making machines; a “soft play area” with padded play equipment for the under-two set; a computer lab with educational computer games and PlayStation 2 game consoles; and a children’s library with youth-oriented books and magazines. 

The play area is also the site for several new “Camp Carnival” activities, including an art program, “WaterColors,” debuting on Carnival Valor. With the new program, which will eventually be expanded fleetwide, kids can create their own artistic masterpieces – paper mache, oil paintings, and watercolors, for example – while learning techniques employed by professional artists. Also debuting on Carnival Valor is “SeaNotes,” a new music program that introduces kids to different musical instruments and genres. 

There’s also “H2Ocean,” a new science program with hands-on projects where kids can make their own ice cream and create custom-made helicopters and miniature hovercrafts; “EduCruise,” with fun, interactive projects focusing on the cultures, landmarks, history and geography of Carnival Valor’s Caribbean destinations; and “ExerSeas,” a recreational fitness program that encourages kids to “get out and play” through intense physical activity.

Kid-Friendly Dining Options 
Dining is considered a highlight of the “Fun Ship” vacation experience and kids sailing aboard Carnival Valor will enjoy a wide variety of delectable dining options from which to choose. In addition to Rosie’s, an expansive Lido restaurant offering hot dogs, hamburgers and French fries, and 24-hour pizza and ice cream, the two-level Washington and Lincoln dining rooms feature children’s menus with such favorites as chicken nuggets, pepperoni pizza and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, along with a “daily junior special” promising something new and different each day. 

There’s also a program where kids can dine with the youth counselors each evening. Also available is the “Fountain Fun Card,” which, for a one-time fee of $28, provides unlimited soft drinks throughout the Carnival Valor’s seven-day Caribbean cruises (an adult version is available, as well). Kids are also provided with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies one night during the voyage, as part of the line’s popular children’s turndown service. 

Special Amenities Just For Teens
Teens have their own unique vacation expectations and on Carnival Valor older kids can enjoy a variety of “just-for-teens” facilities and activities. These include a 1,800-square-foot teen club, “The Caboose,” which in addition to a distinctive railroad décor, includes a dance club with a DJ and state-of-the-art sound and lighting system, along with a “mocktail lounge,” where kids ages 15-17 can enjoy a variety of non-alcoholic specialty drinks. “The Caboose” will also include a video game room with more than 60 of the latest video and arcade games, as well as a library with popular teen-oriented books and magazines, video game units and computers loaded with gaming software. 

And with Carnival’s new fleetwide youth spa program, children ages 12-14 and their parents can also enjoy soothing body and beauty treatments together on port days. Packages are available in mother/daughter and father/son combinations and include hair and nail treatments, health evaluations, and foot and scalp massages. There’s also a teen shore excursion program where kids ages 12-17 can partake in “just for teens” shoreside experiences during the Carnival Valor’s seven-day Caribbean cruises. 

Other ‘Family Friendly’ Features
Carnival Valor also features four swimming pools -- a children’s wading pool, a more secluded pool located aft that is covered by a retractable dome, a main pool on Lido Deck, and another on Panorama Deck featuring a 214-foot-long corkscrew water slide full of exhilarating twists and turns. 

The line’s popular fleetwide stroller rental program, where parents can rent single and double strollers by week for $25, will also be featured on Carnival Valor. “Bouncy seats,” travel swings and GameBoy Advance gaming units are available for rent, as well. Babysitting, which takes place in the children’s play room, is also available at a cost of $6 per hour for the first child and $4 per hour for each additional child in the same family.

“Multi-generational” activities where parents and kids can enjoy their “Fun Ship” cruise together as a family with games and activities such as arts and crafts sessions, family water play and “make-your-own-sundae” sessions are also offered. A new reading program in which youth counselors read popular children’s books aloud to parents and kids in the ships’ libraries and then present creative interpretations of the stories through puppet shows and skits will be featured, as well.

Exciting Seven-Day Caribbean Itineraries
The third in Carnival’s highly successful 110,000-ton Conquest-class, Carnival Valor is slated to begin year-round seven-day cruises from Miami, alternating weekly to the eastern and western Caribbean, Dec. 19. On this route, eastern Caribbean cruises call at Nassau, The Bahamas; St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; and St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles, while western Caribbean cruises visit Belize City, Belize; Isla Roatan, Honduras; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico. 

Prior to the start-up of this program, Carnival Valor will operate a special two-day cruise from Miami to Nassau Dec. 15-17. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL, or visit

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Award-Winning Deilmann Cruises Scores Gold With CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER & TRAVEL + LEISURE READERS 
Porthole Magazine Readers vote line “Best River Cruise”

NEW YORK, Nov. 29, 2004 – Peter Deilmann’s river and ocean fleet once again scored high marks with U.S. travelers in surveys conducted by the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure magazines. Readers of both magazines voted Peter Deilmann Cruises one of the top ten small-ship cruise lines for 2004 in the surveys conducted this year. At the same time, readers of Porthole Cruise magazine selected Peter Deilmann Cruises as the “Best River Cruise” for 2004. The Deilmann rankings are in the November issues of all three magazines.

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SeaDream Yacht Club Does It Again
Leads 19 Major Cruise Ships for Top Five Star Rating

SeaDream Yacht Club’s twin mega yacht cruisers, SeaDream I and II, have topped a Five Star pack of highly-regarded passenger ships in the 2005 book Berlitz Ocean Cruising and Cruise Ships and come within a gnat’s eyebrow of an even higher, over-the-top rating. This is the third year in a row SeaDream Yacht Club has achieved such an amazing accolade in this authoritative publication. The elegant SeaDream sisters were each rated 1790 points on guidebook author Douglas Ward’s exacting scale of 2000 possible points. This rating surpassed 19, Five Star vessels that included those of Seabourn, Silversea, Crystal and Cunard’s QM2 (Grill Class).

Only one vessel rated higher (Five Stars Plus) than the SeaDream twins; Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa, operated primarily for the German market. Ward’s objective evaluations of cruise ships operates from a predetermined set of criteria and includes scores for the quality of the Ship, its Accommodations, Cuisine, Service, Entertainment and overall Cruise Experience. 

Europa’s score was 1858 points including Entertainment. SeaDream I and II were not rated in the entertainment category since yacht class vessels do not stress elaborate entertainment, but choose to emphasize a more active, free-form seagoing holiday. In the category of Service SeaDream I and II topped Europa 359 to 370 and in the category of Cruise Experience topped that ship 320 to 435. Additionally, the SeaDream twins matched Europa’s top score for Cuisine at 371.

Both the SeaDream mega yachts and the larger Europa were said by Ward to be “Utterly Exclusive.” Of additional interest is that the SeaDream I and II outscored Cunard’s QM2 (Grill Class), Crystal, Seabourn and Silversea in Cuisine, Service and the quality of the Cruise Experience. Not bad for a youngster founded only three years ago. In the new Berlitz book Ward stated “The two SeaDream ships are really the ultimate boutique vessels---like having your own private yacht in which hospitality and anticipation are art forms practiced to a high level.” 

Commenting on the feat, Larry Pimentel, CTC, President and CEO of SeaDream Yacht Club, stated “This honor is truly amazing. We are delighted that in only three years we have done so spectacularly in Doug Ward’s Berlitz guide. All SeaDream colleagues are to be congratulated in this achievement; especially the incredible staff aboard SeaDream I and II.”

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Romantic Shipboard & Shoreside Wedding Packages Aboard New Carnival Valor

MIAMI (Nov 24, 2004) – Carnival Cruise Lines’ new Carnival Valor will offer a variety of all-inclusive and affordable wedding packages for couples seeking a romantic, unforgettable way to begin their lives together. Carnival Valor’s wedding packages will feature a shipboard ceremony during embarkation day or at various on-island locations in the eastern and western Caribbean. Wedding vows renewal packages are also available. The wedding and vows renewal packages are part of the line’s popular fleetwide wedding program, which is expected to host 2,200 couples in 2005. 

Shipboard wedding options include the popular “Just for the Bride & Groom” package, which starts at $750 and includes an official civil ceremony, a champagne toast with keepsake flutes, flowers for both bride and groom, a wedding cake with cake topper, pre-recorded wedding music, a decorated bridal aisle and photographic services.

The more elaborate “Welcome Aboard” package starts at $1,350 and offers all the amenities of “Just for the Bride & Groom” as well as a reception with one-hour open bar and hot-and-cold hors d’oeuvres, a traditional two-tiered wedding cake and coffee service. Couples may also select the “Deluxe Romance” package, which includes a one-and-a-half hour reception and an ice carving, as well as all the features of the other programs. Prices for this package begin at $1,450.

Also available is the “Ceremony and Wedding Luncheon,” which includes the amenities offered in the “Just for the Bride and Groom” package, as well as a full-service luncheon in the ship’s main dining room. The package includes a five-course meal, wine, champagne and other beverages. Prices begin at $1,050.

Shoreside ceremonies combining a variety of all-inclusive amenities with a romantic tropical setting are also available in St. Thomas on eastern Caribbean cruises and Grand Cayman and Cozumel on the western route.

A wide variety of options such as videography services, live music and tuxedo rental are also available at additional cost. For additional information on Carnival’s wedding packages, call the line’s Wedding Department at 1-800-933-4968. Information and reservations on Carnival’s “Fun Ship” cruises can be obtained by contacting any travel agent, calling 1-800-CARNIVAL or visiting the line’s Web site at

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Princess Releases 2005 Canada/New England Brochure
Fall Foliage Options Include New Sea Princess Sailings 

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (Nov 23, 2004) - The crisp autumn air and breathtaking fall foliage make Princess' Canada/New England cruises a favorite escape every year. Now, travelers can prepare for next year's sojourn to the eastern seaboard with a newly released 44-page Canada/New England brochure outlining Princess' 2005 season.
A highlight of the upcoming program includes the debut in the region of Sea Princess with a new New York/Quebec City itinerary featuring calls in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. In addition, Golden Princess returns to offer round-trip cruises from New York. The two ships will offer 11 voyages, including seven Golden Princess seven-day sailings roundtrip from New York, and three Sea Princess offerings of a 10-day route between New York and Quebec City. Sea Princess will also sail one Canada/Colonial America voyage along the full length of the Atlantic coast.

The September 3 to October 24, 2005 Canada/New England season will include: 

  • Golden Princess Round-trip from New York -- Golden Princess' seven-day itinerary features stunning scenery of brilliant fall colors combined with one of the line's amenity-filled vessels. A convenient round-trip cruise from New York City, this itinerary features visits to Halifax (Nova Scotia), Saint John (New Brunswick), Bar Harbor (Maine), Boston and Newport (Rhode Island). The ship offers seven voyages from September 3 to October 15.

  • Sea Princess Debuts New Itinerary -- Sea Princess sails on a classic 10-day Canada/New England voyage between New York and Quebec City. The itinerary features a new port of call in Corner Brook (Newfoundland). In addition, passengers will visit Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor, Saint John and Halifax, plus enjoy cruising on Canada's scenic Saguenay River. Sea Princess offers three sailings, departing between September 24 and October 14, 2004.

  • Special Eastern Seaboard Sailing -- In addition, Sea Princess will also offer a special 12-day Canada/Colonial America voyage between Quebec City and Ft. Lauderdale on October 24. This extended journey features calls at Sydney, Halifax, Bar Harbor, Boston, Newport, New York City, Norfolk (Virginia) and Charleston - visiting five of the U.S.'s 13 original colonies.

  • Canada/Historic America Cruisetours -- For those who would like to extend their Canada/New England vacation, Princess offers escorted pre- or post-cruise land tours in conjunction with these sailings, in which passengers can travel back through historic America or spend further time in Canada. Golden Princess passengers can add a Historic America tour to their vacation, which will take them to Washington, D.C., Mt. Vernon, Jamestown, Williamsburg, Monticello, Charlottesville, Gettysburg, and the Amish country of Lancaster. Sea Princess passengers can opt for a Maple Explorer tour, featuring some of Canada's most popular landmarks, including two nights in Toronto with a day at Niagara Falls, one night in the capital city of Ottawa, and two nights in Montreal.

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 or by calling 1-800-PRINCESS.

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Celebrity Cruises Expands 'Celebrity Discoveries'
Popular Enrichment Program Presents Lecturers on Every Cruise 

MIAMI, Nov. 22 -- From world affairs to wines, from culture to caricatures, Celebrity Cruises' "Celebrity Discoveries" program will enrich guests' cruise experience with an expanded array of fascinating people and topics in 2005. One of the most extensive enrichment programs at sea, Celebrity Discoveries presents up to four lecturers on every cruise. Caricature artists add an imaginative touch to Celebrity's seven-night Caribbean and Bermuda sailings, while resident naturalists on the line's cruises in Alaska, Hawaii and South America offer illustrated wildlife presentations, live commentaries from the bridge, and small group question-and-answer sessions about the region. For wine enthusiasts, Celebrity's wine appreciation program features prominent wine makers who share their expertise during onboard seminars and pre-dinner varietal tastings, allowing guests to interact directly with the wine maker to learn about the evening's selection.

Among the new components of the program in 2005 are lively port presentations by Celebrity's Cruise Directors, designed to inform guests about what there is to do and see in each port of call, to help them make the most of their time in each location. But Celebrity Discoveries wouldn't be complete without celebrities -- and once again, in 2005, the line has secured a stellar lineup of personalities who will share slices of their life stories with Celebrity guests:

  • Orson Bean -- January 2 onboard Millennium: A star of stage and screen, Bean has been acting since 1945. Most recently, he starred in "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" and the film, "Being John Malkovich." Bean is founder of the arts-oriented 15th Street School of New York, author of the oddball 1971 volume, "Me and the Oregon," and one of the charter members of The Sons of the Desert, a Laurel and Hardy appreciation society.

  • Irving R. Levine -- January 3 onboard Infinity; May 7 and July 25 onboard Galaxy: Former NBC News Chief Economics Correspondent Irving R. Levine is one of the most renowned and respected figures in broadcast journalism. He was one of the first television network correspondents to cover the economy full-time, winning a number of awards for his groundbreaking reporting. Today, Levine is a frequent commentator on Nightly Business Report.

  • Dick Morris -- January 31 onboard Infinity; June 13 onboard Galaxy; July 16 onboard Constellation: Once called "the most influential private citizen in America" by Time magazine, Morris is widely credited with driving Bill Clinton's stunning re-election victory in 1996, after the president lost Congress to the Republicans two years earlier. Morris now serves as a political analyst for the FOX News Channel.

  • Dr. Patch Adams -- February 15 onboard Infinity: Patch Adams, M.D., is founder and director of the Gesundheit Institute, which has served more than 15,000 people with free medical care. Dr. Adams complements his training as a physician with his experience as a street clown, believing that medical professionals should examine the relationship between humor and therapy by using a unique blend of knowledge, showmanship and hands-on teaching techniques.

  • Ernest Borgnine -- May 1 onboard Millennium: Oscar-winning actor Ernest Borgnine has appeared in more than 100 films, including, "The Dirty Dozen" (1967) and "The Poseidon Adventure" (1972). In 1953, he starred as the brutal stockade sergeant, Fatso, in the classic film, "From Here to Eternity." Borgnine went on to become famous around the world for his Oscar-winning portrayal of the Bronx butcher "Marty" in 1955. From 1962 to 1966, Borgnine starred in the television series, "McHale's Navy."

  • Walt Cunningham -- May 23 onboard Galaxy: On October 11, 1968, Walt Cunningham occupied the lunar module pilot seat for the 11-day flight of Apollo VII, the first manned flight test of the third-generation U.S. spacecraft. Cunningham executed maneuvers enabling the crew to perform exercises in transposition and docking and lunar orbit rendezvous with the S- IVB stage of their Saturn IB launch vehicle.

  • Larry Hagman -- August 13 onboard Constellation: Best known for his work as J.R. on "Dallas" and as Captain Tony Nelson on "I Dream of Jeannie," Hagman has been a star of stage and screen for more than 50 years. He has appeared in such hit films as "Primary Colors," "Nixon" and "Superman."

  • Cathy Rigby -- August 14 onboard Millennium: A former Olympic gymnast, Cathy Rigby earned the highest U.S. gymnastic scores in the 1968 Summer Olympics and was the first American woman to medal at the World Championships. Rigby transitioned to acting in 1981, in the stage role of Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz." She has appeared in numerous television programs and starred in plays, including "Meet Me In St. Louis" and "South Pacific." Rigby won a Best Actress Tony Award for her performance in her most famous role, as Peter in "Peter Pan."

  • Jane Powell -- August 27 onboard Constellation: The star of more than 20 major MGM musicals, including "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" and "Royal Wedding," Jane Powell has been an icon in Hollywood since her arrival in Tinseltown.

  • Ike Pappas -- September 10 onboard Constellation: As a CBS correspondent on the CBS Evening News with both Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather, Pappas reported on major world events, including the Vietnam War, the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, the Space Program and seven presidential campaigns. Pappas also witnessed the murder of accused Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald at the Texas Police Headquarters.

  • Rita Moreno -- July 30 onboard Constellation: Moreno is best known for winning hearts in "The King and I" and starring as Anita in "West Side Story," which brought her fame and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Moreno was the first actress to win an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony.

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Disney Cruise Line Magical Holiday Cruises: Something for Everyone on Santa's List 

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla., Nov. 22 -- With a first-ever 10-night holiday cruise, a private island transformed into a 'winter wonderland' and two Disney cruise ships full of holiday magic, Disney Cruise Line has a pixie- dusted celebration lined up for all December cruise vacations this season. Beginning at Disney's private cruise terminal at Port Canaveral, Fla., festive holiday decor and Disney characters dressed in their season's best await all who board a Magical Holiday sailing. On board the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, guests find the ships decked with boughs of holly and filled with holiday-themed entertainment and activities for the entire family.

On Board
Complete with 25 Christmas trees, 25,000 Christmas tree lights, 1,260 feet of garland and 3,600 yards of ribbon, Magical Holidays activities, entertainment and dining continue the magic at sea with:

  • A nearly three-deck-tall tree-lighting ceremony in the atrium lobby, where "snow" magically falls

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

  • Special family time, when families join together to design and decorate their own gingerbread houses

  • A Disney Cruise Line rendition of "T'was the Night Before Christmas" with a reading by Mrs. Claus and caroling by the main stage performers

  • Traditional holiday feasts in Disney's three themed dining rooms

  • Multiple faith and inter-denominational holiday services

  • A ship-wide party to ring in 2005 and a New Year's Day tailgate party

At Castaway Cay
Additionally, Disney's private island paradise, Castaway Cay, located in the Bahamas, is literally a magical wonderland, where a new themed decor package has transformed the sandy island into a "snowy" holiday hideaway. t a balmy 73 degrees, the forecast calls for snow flurries, ideal for Mr. and Mrs. Snowman (with shell noses and tropical shirts) who greet guests as they step off the gangway onto the island. Guests will also find a 40-foot tall tropical Christmas tree, carolers and a sleigh full of presents in the middle of this Bahamian paradise. Disney characters, dressed in holiday island styles, sign autographs and pose for photos to the beat of holiday tunes while the island's tram that transports guests across the 1,000-acre island has been decorated to resemble a reindeer, complete with antlers and tail.

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Crystal Cruises' First-Ever Land Package to Tibet Expands 2005 Asia Cruise Programs 

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 22 -- Crystal Cruises has introduced a brand new eight-night excursion into the sacred land of Tibet, featuring a flight over the Himalayas and a visit to the Potala Palace, former home of the Dalai Lama. Offered with Crystal Harmony's spring 2005 Asia cruises, the journey is one of three seamless and enriching land programs revealing the mysteries of the Orient. Other pre- and post cruise options, in addition to the line's complimentary three-night Beijing program, include a cruise through the Yangtze River and the legendary Three Gorges and/or a trip to Xi'an and the Terra Cotta Warriors.

Showcasing over-the-top luxury, Crystal has also added a new optional Rolls-Royce or helicopter transfer between the Hong Kong International Airport and The Peninsula Hotel for guests participating in the Crystal "Classic-Plus" Hotel Program. A trademark of the Peninsula, the helicopter service provides spectacular views of Hong Kong's celebrated skyline. From March-April 2005, the award-winning Crystal Harmony will offer four cruises through China, Japan and Taiwan, as well as two Trans-Pacific cruises between North America and Asia. Departing March 15 and 22, April 5, 13 and 26, the 13- or 14-day Asia itineraries from either Hong Kong or Beijing feature a complimentary, inclusive 3-night stay in Beijing. Trans-Pacific voyages depart on February 24 from Los Angeles to Hong Kong and on April 26 from Yokohama to Vancouver. As a special bonus, a 10% savings off cruise fares is available for bookings made by December 31. The savings are available on the March 22, April 5, 13 and 26 departures.

"Today's luxury traveler is looking for total immersion and destination enrichment, and Crystal Cruises offers a wealth of opportunities to experience more of Asia by land and sea in exceptional comfort and style," says John Stoll, director of land programs for Crystal. "For the last few years, we have been building on our collection of worldwide land programs to continuously exceed the growing interest in more profound experiences beyond the cruise ports."

Created by Crystal Cruises' team of seasoned destination experts, the Extended Land Programs are crafted with an exceptional eye toward detail, with all hotel, meal and transfer arrangements attended to, ensuring a seamless experience. Highlights of the Asia Extended Land Programs are listed below.

Tibet (8 nights from Beijing) -- This extensive journey into Tibet reveals a land so revered that visitors have only recently been allowed to enter. Guests will experience:

  • the ancient Tombs of the Tibetan Kings in Congue;

  • Potala Palace, the 1,000-room former winter home of the Dalai Lama, and the Norbulingka Palace, also known as the Summer Palace;

  • Jokhang Temple, considered the spiritual center of Tibet, and the

  • Drepung Monastery, Tibet's largest and richest monastery, and the Sera Monastery, also known as the Wild Rose Garden;

  • Barkor Bazaar, the oldest street in Lhasa where Tibetan culture, economy, religion and art assemble; and 

  • a dramatic flight over the Himalayas providing spectacular views of Mt. Everest

Yangtze Splendor (8 nights from Beijing) -- Following a flight from Beijing to the riverfront city of Chongquing, travelers will:

  • cruise the fabled Yangtze River, the third longest river in the world after the Nile and Amazon, for three nights aboard a deluxe riverboat; and, 

  • travel through the legendary Three Gorges, including the Wu and Xiling gorges, site of the controversial Three Gorges Dam project, considered China's greatest construction initiative since the Great Wall.

Xi'an and the Terra Cotta Warriors (5 nights from Hong Kong) -- Travelers will journey to the tranquil region of Guilian to enjoy:

  • a riverboat excursion on the River Li, traveling through limestone mountains topped with curls of mist.

  • an adventure to Xi'an, capital of 11 dynasties and home to the famous
    Terra Cotta Warriors, the ancient burial-site of the first Chinese Emperor Qin Shihuangdi.

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NCL Announces New Price Advertising Policy
 & Open Access Pricing Policy

NCL Corporation, parent of the Norwegian Cruise Line and NCL America brands, announced a new Price Advertising Policy and a related Open Access Pricing Policy beginning January 17, 2005. The Price Advertising Policy states that travel agents advertising an NCL product in any public medium may advertise only an approved NCL price or promotion. The related Open Access Pricing Policy will provide a level playing field for all travel agents by ensuring that prices and promotions available to any travel agent are available to all travel agents regardless of size or volume. 

According to NCL President & CEO Colin Veitch, executives from the company sought feedback from travel agents on a recent 47-city road show across the country. Executives met with travel agents large and small, operating many different business models. 

“It was very clearly expressed to us that a policy that brought consistency to the advertised price would be, on balance, a good thing,” Veitch said. “It also became clear that the introduction of Open Access Pricing available to all agents would strengthen our partnership with the entire travel agent community. Our travel industry partners have expressed the need for a reasonable policy addressing these key issues, which they could implement in an effective and measured way with plenty of advance notice, and that is what our program will give them,” Veitch said. 

Veitch said the company recognizes and welcomes the fact that there are different business models in the agency distribution system: some of which are more focused on customer service and others on passing through cost efficiencies to consumers. 

“We are not saying one is better than another, nor are we telling anyone how to run his or her business. We are simply defining the way in which we wish our pricing to be advertised, and we are making all of our pricing mechanisms available to any and all agents who wish to partner with us,” he said.

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Lecture Series Gives MSC Guests a Global Perspective
Former Ambassadors Set to Sail on Caribbean Itineraries

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL (Nov. 19, 2004) MSC Cruises presents guests with a rare insight into the U.S. Foreign Service and foreign policy with a new lecture program featuring former U.S. Ambassadors. The former Ambassadors will be on select Caribbean sailings of the MSC Opera, which is sailing its inaugural season from Fort Lauderdale.

“We are honored to have such distinguished individuals onboard to provide our guests with their global perspective based on their extensive first-hand experience,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises USA. “In the coming days we expect to announce even more sailings featuring guest lecturers.”

The lecture series begins with former Ambassador Raymond Ewing, who will be on the seven-night Dec. 4 Eastern Caribbean and seven-night Dec. 11 Western Caribbean sailings. Mr. Ewing served as Ambassador to Cyprus from 1981-1984 and to Ghana from 1989-1992. During his 36-year career in the Foreign Service he was also assigned to Tokyo and Vienna with the U.S. Mission to the International Atomic Energy Agency and Lahore, Pakistan; Rome; and Bern, Switzerland as Counselor for Economic and Commercial Affairs. Sine 1994 he has been managing editor of Mediterranean Quarterly, a journal of global issues. Among the topics he is expected to address are “The U.S. Foreign Service Is it Still the First Line of Defense?”; “U.S. Foreign Policy Challenges of 2005;” and “Creating and Keeping Peace in the World.”

Former Ambassador William Bodde Jr. will sail on MSC Opera’s 10-night Dec. 18 Panama Canal Holiday Voyage. The ship will visit Ocho Rios, Cartagena, Puerto Limon and Cozumel. It will spend four days at sea and will enter the Panama Canal through the Gatun Locks, cruise the Gatun Lake and exit from the same Gatun Locks. In the course of his 33-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service, Mr. Bodde served as Ambassador under Presidents Carter, Bush and Clinton and as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Reagan Administration. He has been posted in Vienna, Stockholm, Berlin, Bonn, Frankfurt, Fiji, The Marshall Island and Singapore. Mr. Bodde’s lectures will cover “American Foreign Policy after the 2004 Election,” “The United States and Latin America,” and “America’s Heart May be in Europe but Our Pocketbook is in Asia.”

Also scheduled to share their expertise with MSC Cruises’ guests are the following:
Former Ambassador to Malaysia, Indonesia and Pakistan John Monjo MSC Opera’s Dec. 2811-night Deep Caribbean New Year’s Voyage, which calls at San Juan, Antigua, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, Tortola, and Nassau and spends three days at sea;
Former Ambassador to Sierra Leone (1992-1995) Lauralee M. Peters MSC Opera’s 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise which departs Jan. 15 and visits San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Croix and Nassau, and spends two days at sea.

“This series of special lectures is an example of our ability to offer unique enriching experiences to our guests,” says Sasso.

Other special events on MSC Cruises’ Caribbean schedule include a series of baseball theme cruises featuring some of the greats of the game and a series of music cruises including Big Band, Oldies, Classic Country, Jazz and Italian music on MSC Lirica. 
For further information and brochures, visit your travel agent, call 1-800-666-9333 or visit the company's website at

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Royal Caribbean Sweepstakes Offers Chance to Win Cruise for Extended Clan

MIAMI, Nov. 18 -- Royal Caribbean International is kicking off the season of giving with a family sweepstakes giving nine winning families a chance to ship out and share unforgettable experiences. Through Feb. 28, 2005, would-be cruisers can enter to win one of three, seven-night Grand Prize cruises for 12 to their destination of choice -- Alaska, the Caribbean, or Europe -- or one of three, seven-night First Prize cruises for four to the Caribbean through the line's web sites and In addition, visitors to either site on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, can enter to win one of three special bonus prizes -- a four-night Bahamas cruise for four.

"A Royal Caribbean cruise is the perfect way for families to vacation together," said Dan Hanrahan, senior vice president, Marketing and Sales, for Royal Caribbean International. "Whether it's a short getaway with the immediate family or a gathering of the extended clan, a cruise aboard one of Royal Caribbean's innovative ships gives families a chance to reconnect while trying onboard adventures like rock climbing, exploring new destinations, or simply relaxing together by the pool or at the dinner table."

Once site visitors have completed their sweepstakes entry, they can involve families and friends to increase their chance of winning by sending a "Veeper," an animated, talking e-card. Entrants can choose a character--a dog, a kitten, a tropical fish, a baby, a man, or a woman--or upload their own photo messenger. They then write a personal message for their animated spokesperson to deliver in the voice of their choice, such as "sportscaster" or "valley girl."

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Carnival Corp Reaches Agreement with Cousteau Society to Fund Restoration of Legendary Ocean Resarch Vessel Calypso

MIAMI and PARIS, Nov. 18 -- The Cousteau Society and Carnival Corporation have reached an agreement in principle to restore the Calypso, the legendary research and expedition vessel of Captain Jacques Yves Cousteau. Once restored, Calypso will become an exhibit and a center for science and the environment. The Cousteau Society has been diligently working toward a successful solution for this historic vessel. The last eight months have been used to put together a plan to restore the former American minesweeper as authentically as possible. "I'm so pleased at this outcome, as I know Captain Cousteau would have been," said Francine Cousteau, widow of Jacques Cousteau and president of the Cousteau Society.

Calypso will be restored at a shipyard in Grand Bahama, The Bahamas, at an estimated cost of $1.3 million, with work expected to be completed by the end of 2005. The vessel's new location, following refurbishment, is to be announced at a later date. The Calypso will maintain its French flag and will remain a historic symbol of the extraordinary work of Captain Cousteau and the Cousteau Society, which carries on his work in science and education for public awareness, as well as for international university research.

According to Giora Israel, vice president of strategic planning for Carnival Corporation, restoring the Calypso is a unique opportunity to preserve a part of history and maintain a world-famous icon for marine research and environmental preservation. "The company views its funding of the Calypso's restoration as a tribute to the Cousteau organization whose contributions to marine science and education are immeasurable," said Israel. "As the world's largest cruise operator, Carnival Corporation's success relies on the health of the world's oceans and the restoration of the Calypso will serve to expose new generations to the Calypso story and allow this famous ship to continue to educate the public on the importance of protecting our precious natural resources," he added.

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Hot New Talent, Culinary Icons and Master Sommeliers on the Menu for Crystal Cruises' 2005 Wine & Food Festival
9th Annual Festival Showcases Award-Winning Talent Aboard 15 Cruises to Worldwide Destinations

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 18 -- Rising stars of the culinary world -- Aquavit's and Riingo's Marcus Samuelsson, Table 8's Govind Armstrong, Alma de Cuba's Jose Garces, and established names in cuisine -- Bradley Ogden, Andre Soltner, and Alan Wong, among others -- share top billing with noted wine experts including Union Square Cafe's Karen King, Michael Mina's Master Sommelier Rajat Parr, and Master Sommelier Elizabeth Schweitzer, during Crystal Cruises' 2005 Wine & Food Festival. An award-winning cast of the hottest, most progressive and most celebrated names in cuisine and wine take to sea to host special dinners, demonstrations and wine tastings on 15 luxury cruises to all corners of the globe aboard the elegant Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. In most cases, the visiting chefs are paired with itineraries that reflect either the style of their cuisine or the location of their restaurant. The collective awards and recognitions of the 2005 Wine & Food Festival participants is a testament to the increasing stature of Crystal Cruises' annual festival, now in its ninth year.

"It is both an honor and a privilege to have the most innovative and applauded names in cuisine and wine aboard the ships of Crystal Cruises to work alongside our own award-winning chefs and sommeliers," says Toni Neumeister, vice president, food and beverage operations. "The caliber of talent we continue to draw year after year speaks to Crystal's commitment to advancing the culinary arts with the added benefit of providing our guests with enriching and exclusive experiences."

Italian culinary master Roberto Donna of Galileo, renowned celebrity chef Andre Rochat of Andre's French Restaurants, and Canada's barbeque-grilling expert Ted Reader, host of the hit television show "King of the Q," lend an international flair to the festival, while MidCity Cuisine's Shaun Doty prepares contemporary American brasserie fare and Sam Choy specializes in the unique tastes of Hawaiian regional cuisine.

Some of the most prominent names in wine -- Leslie Sbrocco, wine journalist for the New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle; Jeff Morgenthal, wine director for both Santa Monica's Drago and Beverly Hill's Enoteca Drago restaurants; and Christian Moueix, president-director general of Jean Pierre Moueix and owner of California's Dominus Winery -- will also share their knowledge and passion for wine, offering professional insights into the world's best vintages.

During each cruise, guests will be treated to a specially prepared four- course dinner featuring each chef's signature dishes utilizing the sailing region's freshest ingredients, matched with wine pairings by the guest wine expert. The menu, showcasing an appetizer; soup, salad or pasta; seafood/fish and meat entrees; and dessert, is offered to all guests in the Crystal Dining Room. By day, the visiting chef will also demonstrate cooking techniques, share recipes and tips, and participate in question and answer sessions.

Crystal Cruises' Master Sommeliers and other guest wine experts will lead guests through wine tastings to enjoy and compare appellations, vintages and varietals; learn the history of wine in the regions sailed; receive valuable hints on choosing and pairing wines, and become more familiar with Crystal's cellar of more than 200 selections, one of the most extensive at sea. These tastings feature the renowned Riedel Tasting Glass, which allows guests to evaluate different wines in a short period of time, while improving several aspects of judging wine.

In addition to the Wine & Food Festival cruises, Crystal is building on its reputation for excellence with innovative new concepts. Just last month, the luxury cruise specialist announced the creation of its own proprietary label called C Wines, featuring six new appellations including three reserve and three premium selections of cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and merlot. Further, the intimate Vintage Room aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity plays host to the ultimate gourmet experiences with the first-ever, at-sea Wine and Champagne Makers Dinners.

Crystal's worldwide journey to advance the culinary arts has inspired the creation of progressive programs such as the "Best Young Chefs of Italy," a collaborative effort with long-time partner Piero Selvaggio, proprietor of the acclaimed Valentino restaurants. Crystal welcomes the future stars of Italy's culinary scene on board to work alongside its own chefs to create exclusive menus featured seasonally at Selvaggio's "Valentino at Prego," the Italian specialty restaurant aboard Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony.

The line's devotion to cuisine is further evidenced by its alliances with some of the world's most celebrated names in food, wine and hospitality -- Nobu Matsuhisa brings his legendary cuisine to the aptly-named "Sushi Bar" aboard Crystal Serenity; and specialties from Wolfgang Puck's "Chinois on Main" are showcased at "Jade Garden," the intimate Asian restaurant aboard Crystal Symphony.

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New Princess Panama Canal Brochure Details 2005-06 Program
Schedule Includes New 21-day West Coast Sailing from San Diego

SANTA CLARITA, CA (Nov 18, 2004) - Travelers eager to experience one of the world's foremost engineering marvels can plan their Panama Canal escape with a new 64-page brochure just published by Princess Cruises. In 2005-06 Princess will once again offer travelers a variety of opportunities to experience the best of both the Mexican Riviera and the islands of the Caribbean, plus enjoy a front-row view of the locks and lakes that make up this dramatic passageway from the Pacific to Atlantic Ocean. The line's three Canal-bound ships - Coral Princess, Regal Princess and Sun Princess - will offer a plethora of Canal choices, including both roundtrip sailings and full transit voyages. Among the 28 seasonal sailings, Regal Princess introduces a new 21-day roundtrip sailing from San Diego. Coral Princess will again offer roundtrip sailings from the East Coast from Ft. Lauderdale, and all three ships also sail on full Canal adventures.

Included in Princess' Fall 2005-Spring 2006 Panama Canal season are:

  • Roundtrip Panama Canal -- Coral Princess returns to offer 21 departures on its popular 10-day roundtrip voyages from Ft. Lauderdale. The ship, which was designed especially for Canal cruising, takes passengers on a partial transit of the Panama Canal followed by an afternoon visit to the Panamanian port of Colón, plus visits Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Limon in Costa Rica, and Ocho Rios in Jamaica. Sailings depart between October 5, 2005 and April 23, 2006.

  • New Pacific Panama Canal Roundtrip from San Diego -- Regal Princess debuts a new 21-day roundtrip Canal sailing from San Diego. The itinerary includes a rare opportunity to spend the night under the Panamanian stars as the ship stays overnight in the Canal's Gatun Lake with an evening transit back through the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel locks the next day. In addition, the cruise features port calls in Puerto Vallarta, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Puerto Quetzal (Guatemala), Puerto Corinto (Nicaragua), San Juan del Sur (Nicaragua), Puntarenas (Costa Rica), and Huatulco, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. This special sailing departs on November 15, 2005.

  • Grand Panama Canal -- For those wanting to experience the full ocean-to-ocean Canal transit, Princess will offer several Grand Panama Canal sailings in spring and fall. The 15-day or longer itineraries include not only the full transit through the Panama Canal, but also calls at Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Puntarenas, Huatulco and Aruba. In Fall 2005, passengers can choose a Vancouver (or Los Angeles) to Ft. Lauderdale sailing on Coral Princess on September 17 (or Sept. 20 from L. A.). Sun Princess offers a similar itinerary from Vancouver on September 12 (or Sept. 14 from San Francisco). In addition, Regal Princess sails from San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale on December 6. Spring 2006 options include Coral Princess sailing from Ft. Lauderdale to Vancouver (via San Francisco) on May 3; Regal Princess cruising from Ft. Lauderdale to San Francisco on May 1; and Sun Princess traveling between Ft. Lauderdale and Vancouver (via Los Angeles) on April 27.

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Norwegian Cruise Line Gives Away 125 Surprise 'Second Honeymoons' at Reaffirmation Ceremony on Good Morning America

MIAMI, Nov. 18 -- Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) helped 125 couples relive one of the happiest moments of their lives on ABC television network's "Good Morning America." At a group reaffirmation ceremony with BRIDE'S magazine held at the Hammerstine Ballroom in New York City, 125 couples, including 23 participants from the U.S. Armed Forces, renewed their wedding vows live on national television. To culminate the event, NCL surprised all of them with a 10-day "second honeymoon" cruise to the Southern Caribbean aboard Norwegian Dawn, which is homeported in New York City year round. 

After a nationwide search, 125 couples were selected to say "I do" again at a romantic vow renewal ceremony led by a trio of officiants. After the ceremony, Michael Bolton serenaded the couples with When a Man Loves a Woman. Before arriving to the event, all of the couples were told to come with packed suitcases in hand as a few lucky couples would randomly be chosen to win a second honeymoon cruise.

"Good Morning America" host Diane Sawyer and NCL President and CEO Colin Veitch surprised the crowd by awarding all 125 of the participating couples a Norwegian Dawn cruise to the Exotic Southern Caribbean. All of the couples were then escorted to the New York Cruise Terminal by Sawyer and Veitch and boarded the ship for a celebration luncheon. The couples' second honeymoon voyage includes calls to: St. Thomas, USVI; St. John's, Antigua; Bridgetown, Barbados; St. George's, Grenada; Roseau, Dominica; and Tortola, BVI.

"We know there's no better vacation and romantic experience than a cruise with the one you love," Veitch said. "For decades, NCL has offered wedding, honeymoon and anniversary packages on board all of our ships, filled with special touches like breakfast in bed, a massage for two, and a cozy dinner with views of paradise. NCL, best known for its signature Freestyle Cruising, allows passengers to dine whenever and wherever they like, choose what they want to wear, and enjoy a relaxed, resort-like environment which means couples, including these 'second honeymooners,' can personalize every aspect of their romantic cruise experience to make it exactly what they want it to be."

Norwegian Dawn, purpose-built for NCL's signature Freestyle Cruising, sails roundtrip from New York City to the Caribbean year round. With 10 restaurants, a world-class spa and a variety of entertainment options, Norwegian Dawn offers travelers freedom, choice, flexibility and a carefree and romantic Caribbean cruise experience.

Sample NCL wedding, honeymoon and romance packages currently available include:

  • The Intimate Wedding Package - $ 1,449 - Package will accommodate a maximum of 15 guests -- including Bride and Groom. Includes officiant, a variety of romantic recorded musical selections, personalized Keepsake Marriage Certificate, ten personalized wedding announcements, priority check-in, deluxe photograph album, one hour of open bar with cold canapes, champagne toast, snacks and refreshments, a beautiful two-tiered wedding cake and a bottle of NCL's Private Selection Champagne for a reception.

  • Deluxe Honeymoon Package - $229 per stateroom - Includes sparkling wine and strawberries in the stateroom upon embarkation, canapes delivered to the stateroom one evening, complimentary champagne and cake party, a keepsake photograph, romantic dinner for two in the Le Bistro with a complimentary bottle of wine, breakfast in bed on one day and two 25-minute Mandara Spa® half-body Seven Seas Massages.

  • Romance Package - $249 per stateroom - Includes sparkling wine and strawberries in the stateroom upon embarkation, a traditional Mandara Spa® pedicure and manicure for one, two 25-minute Mandara Spa® half-body Seven Seas Massages and afternoon tea service in the stateroom.

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SilverSea and Oceania Cruise Lines Get Fit With Zone Workout Series On-Demand Exercise Videos
SeaLynx Infotainment System's New Custom Fitness Programming To Debut in December 2004 

ALPHARETTA, GA, Nov. 16, 2004 -- In-Systcom, Inc., a firm that provides interactive entertainment solutions to the cruise ship and luxury resort industries, today announced that the Company has signed an agreement with Naturally Caffeinated, Inc., to distribute its Zone Workout Series™ of guestroom, On-Demand exercise videos beginning in December 2004. In-Systcom, Inc. will offer the Zone Workout Series™ on its SeaLynx™ Infotainment System, which is currently available in guestrooms onboard SilverSea Cruises and Oceania Cruise Lines. 

"The addition of Naturally Caffeinated Entertainment's Zone Workout Series™ to SeaLynx's™ content is an important next step in offering, not just entertainment or communication services for cruise goers, but useful and enjoyable lifestyle programming that enhances the cruise experience," said Wil Riner, Chairman and CEO of In-Systcom, Inc. 

"Cruise ship guests can opt for a variety of onboard sports and fitness activities to stay healthy and fit at sea," stated Leah Garcia, President of Naturally Caffeinated Inc. and the Series™ Executive Producer. "But even with well-equipped fitness centers, many cruise goers prefer to work out, at their leisure, in the comfort and privacy of their guestroom. Now, 24/7, at the touch of the TV remote, they can summon their own 'personal trainer' to guide and motivate them through their choice of five, 20-minute routines--from basic to advanced. It's like having a personal trainer 'on call.'"

Three programs--Cardio Stretching, Total Body Workout, and Yoga--are suitable for any fitness level. Those who want a more challenging workout can opt for Core Conditioning or Pilates. The custom, short-segment routines are designed as stand-alone fitness tools but cruise goers can combine one or more segments for a more intense workout or to complement existing cardiovascular or strength-training routines.

"With the Zone Workout Series™, cruise goers can choose a routine that matches their fitness objective, mood, ability and energy levels," added Garcia, a certified fitness trainer and former professional athlete who travels extensively as a sports-TV commentator. "It's the ultimate in convenience: You don't need special exercise equipment or clothing--just a towel or chair that are available in a typical guestroom. Exercising to one or more Zone Workout Series™ videos each day can boost energy and stamina to help cruise ship guests fully enjoy a sunrise-to-sunset day of onboard and shore activities. And an end-of-the-day work-out session re-energizes them so they can participate in the many evening social events--and sleep more restfully!"

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Fresh New Features Unveiled on Disney Cruise Line Ships

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL, Nov. 16 -- Just in time for the holidays, ships of Disney Cruise Line are sporting new venues and new programming. Fresh from a drydock makeover, new teen- and adult-appealing venues are in place aboard Disney Wonder. Sister ship Disney Magic features a new "Pirates IN the Caribbean" party, transforming guests into buccaneers for a dinner feast and themed deck party.

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Carnival Cruise Line's New 110,000-Ton Superliner to be Named Carnival Freedom
2,974-Passenger ‘Fun Ship’ Scheduled To Enter Service in Spring 2007

MIAMI (Nov 16, 2004) – Carnival Freedom is the name selected by Carnival Cruise Lines for its new 110,000-ton cruise ship scheduled to enter service in spring 2007. To be built at a cost of $500 million at the Fincantieri shipyard in Sestri, Italy, the new 2,974-passenger “Fun Ship” will be the fifth in Carnival’s highly successful Conquest-class, which also includes Carnival Conquest and Carnival Glory, currently in service, and Carnival Valor and Carnival Liberty, set to debut Dec. 15, 2004, and July 20, 2005, respectively. The itinerary for the Carnival Freedom will be announced at a later date.

The new Carnival Freedom will encompass 13 passenger decks housing 22 lounges and bars, a 13,300-square-foot health club, a 2,400-square-foot children’s play room, a 4,200-square-foot teen club/game room, four swimming pools, a 214-foot-long water slide, and four restaurants, including an upscale reservations-only supper club. Other features will include a nine-deck-high atrium, a full gambling casino, a duty-free shopping mall, and a comprehensive golf program. Of the ship’s 1,487 staterooms, 60 percent will offer either an ocean view or a balcony.

“Among the largest passenger vessels at sea, Carnival Freedom will embody ‘Today’s Carnival,’ with a huge array of on-board features and facilities for guests to enjoy. It will certainly be a fantastic addition to the ‘Fun Ship’ fleet,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO.

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Holland America Unveils Exciting New Activities at Award-Winning Private Island Paradise
Signature of Excellence Initiative Delivers Swimming on Horseback, a Stingray Adventure and Other New Ways for Guests to Have Fun at Half Moon Cay

SEATTLE, Nov. 16 -- Holland America Line announced today that, as part of the comprehensive Signature of Excellence initiative, guests now have several new and exciting activities to choose from while visiting the exclusive, private island paradise of Half Moon Cay. Enhancements include a horseback riding and swimming excursion, a stingray adventure, a guided personal watercraft tour and a fun-filled aqua park. These new activities provide more ways for guests to enjoy themselves while experiencing the warm sun, white sandy beach and turquoise waters of this Caribbean island retreat. These new activities augment Half Moon Cay's extensive array of existing excursions including scuba diving tours to explore the marine life, catch-and-release deep sea fishing trips in the island's beautiful waters, eco tours by glass-bottom boat, kayak trips and parasailing.

The highest rated port of call on Holland America Line's Caribbean itineraries, Half Moon Cay is located on 55 acres of the 2,400-acre Little San Salvador Island, an international bird sanctuary in the Bahamas. The island paradise is accessible only to guests of Holland America Line and Windstar Cruises. It is a destination on most Caribbean itineraries and on Panama Canal cruises sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. For the past five years, Half Moon Cay has won the annual Editor-in-Chief Award for "Best Private Island" from Porthole Cruise Magazine.

"Our goal with Half Moon Cay is to provide our guests with the very best Caribbean private island experience," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales, Holland America Line. "And now we're proud to offer guests several new activities that deliver a sense of exploration, discovery and adventure that help bring our exclusive, unforgettable destination to life."

The cruise line worked directly with the Bahamian government to ensure that new facilities were designed to minimize their environmental impact and preserve this island paradise in a manner consistent with its natural beauty. As a result, Half Moon Cay is listed with the Bahamian National Trust as a site of environmentally sustainable tourism.

New Excursions Provide More Ways to Enjoy Island Paradise
Guests visiting Half Moon Cay can now take advantage of the following new activities:

  • Horseback Riding by Land and Sea -- The new Horseback Riding by Land and Sea excursion provides guests an unforgettable way to explore the island's natural beauty and ride a horse while it swims in the ocean. Guests travel by tram to a corral where they receive a brief orientation before saddling up on these specially-trained horses. Winding trails, accessible only on horseback, lead to a panoramic vista at one of the highest points in the Bahamas, overlooking the breathtaking shores of Half Moon Cay and the surrounding islands. During the ride, guides share insight into Bahamian history, people and culture. Once back at the corral, horses are "dressed" for swimming in special saddle pad and halter. Riders then venture into the ocean for the amazing experience of riding a horse while it's swimming.

  • Stingray Adventure -- For those who prefer to get a closer look at the incredible sea life, the new Stingray Adventure offers guests the opportunity to swim or snorkel with these gentle and mysterious creatures in a secluded cove, which is part of a beautiful 700-acre lagoon. The program starts with a fascinating session from an expert lecturer on the Southern Stingrays and some of the other marine life living in the lagoon. Guests learn about the habits, behavior, feeding and breeding of these amazing creatures. Under the direction of guides, guests get the chance to interact with the stingrays, touching their silky wings and, if they wish, hand feeding the beautiful stingrays.

  • Personal Watercraft Adventure -- The new Personal Watercraft Adventure allows guests to experience Half Moon Cay from the natural inner saltwater lagoon aboard a personal watercraft. The guided tour takes guests along the island's picturesque shoreline, navigating around natural reef formations, inlets, islands and sand spits; with interesting stops at the tidal outlet, the Bahamian village and Stingray Cove. A highlight of the adventure is a buoyed course that allows guests to test their watercraft skills. Holland America Line has carefully selected special four-stroke watercraft machines for this excursion that have low emissions and consume 50 percent less fuel than two-stroke machines. Additionally, the course is located near an area of the beach that is removed from the island's other activities.

  • Half Moon Lagoon -- The new Half Moon Lagoon aqua park, opening November 21, is conveniently located on the shore of Half Moon Cay's main beach and provides island-themed action and adventure in the sun. Guests of all ages can have fun climbing on 21 large water "toys" in the shapes of marine life such as whales, octopi, sharks and dolphins. A pirate ship in the aqua park shoots water from cannons to the delight of children and adults alike. Floating pads offer a relaxing way to enjoy the sun or the cooling "raindrops" from a fountain. A boardwalk leads guests to a large sundeck and the palapa-covered Half Moon Saloon, where, following some refreshments, guests can use a slide to get right back into the water.

Other features for guests to enjoy on Half Moon Cay include an aqua-sports center, a fully-equipped Club HAL children's playground, beach chairs, volleyball, shuffleboard, basketball, a network of nature trails and a designated wild bird reserve. Guests can also rent an air-conditioned, private beach-front cabana for the day, have a beachside massage, and then enjoy traditional barbecue fare.

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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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