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Cruise News
November 1-30, 2007

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

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

Return to's Cruise News Weekly Index & Archive

CDC Inspection Scores for all ships inspected.

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

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Cruise News Daily's CruiseBlogger

Celebrity Cruises Turns Up the Heat with Cruise Industry's First-Ever Glassblowing Feature

MIAMI, Nov. 30 -- Talk about a "hot spot": Celebrity Cruises' new Celebrity Solstice will introduce an industry first. Celebrity will collaborate with the world-renowned Corning Museum of Glass to bring the captivating art of glassblowing to sea when the Museum's "Hot Glass Show" debuts on Celebrity Solstice in December 2008. Through Celebrity's alliance with The Corning Museum of Glass, the premier authority on glass and glassmaking history, the Hot Glass Show will provide live demonstrations and a narrated performance of glassblowing, designed to engage, educate and inspire cruisers about the art, history and science of glass.

"We're confident our guests will be awestruck by what we're offering with The Corning Museum of Glass," said Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Dan Hanrahan. "The museum's surveys repeatedly show that live glassmaking demonstrations rank as one of the top reasons more than 340,000 people visit the museum each year. Now, it's also a compelling reason to sail on Celebrity Solstice."

Located on the ship's upper deck within a custom-designed, outdoor glassmaking studio, the Hot Glass Show will present the history and craft of glassblowing, from its ancient origins to its current countless uses. Three resident "gaffers"--highly skilled glassblowing artists--will educate and entertain cruisers with live glassmaking shows, lectures and workshops. Celebrity Cruises' microsite,, offers a sneak peek at The Corning Museum of Glass Hot Glass Show on Celebrity Solstice.

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Queen Victoria's Cunard Royal Spa & Fitness Centre Ushers in New Level of Luxurious Spa Treatments, Health and Wellness

Valencia, CA, Nov 29 - Queen Victoria's Cunard Royal Spa & Fitness Centre is set to redefine the modern spa experience at sea. The luxurious 13,000 square foot spa is beautifully appointed and features a glass-enclosed health centre, affording ocean views. The spa offers a comprehensive health and wellness program with a stunning Hydrotherapy Pool and Thermal Suite providing the centerpiece for the ultimate spa experience. Inspired by holistic, relaxing and stress-relieving treatments drawn from disciplines around the world, the Cunard Royal Spa will offer among the most luxurious and exotic treatments available in any spa resort. For health enthusiasts, the fitness centre provides a comprehensive wellness approach to keeping fit including six branded exercise programs, acupuncture, nutrition consultations and a meditation program. The centre also includes a Stylespa and Nailspa to provide comprehensive hair and beauty treatments.

"As a perfect complement to Queen Victoria's worldwide itineraries, our guests can take stimulating journeys with treatments inspired by asian, far eastern and exotic cultures. Guests can also enjoy a multi-dimensional lifestyle-wellness approach, through a comprehensive structured fitness program," said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard. "Our guests want to live healthier lives and aboard Queen Victoria, they will be able to establish life-changing healthy routines under the direction of some of the world's most diversely trained fitness practitioners. We have truly found the perfect balance between pure indulgence and fitness," added Marlow.

Cunard turned to The Onboard Spa Company, a team comprised of experts from long-time UK-based Cunard partners Harding Brothers Spa and Multitrax Maritime. Together, they have created a unique program of lifestyle pampering and fitness.

Legendary Indulgence 
Perhaps one of the spa's most sought-after features will be the Thermal Suite and Hydrotherapy Pool. This relaxing space includes saunas, steam rooms, a meditation room, showers and relaxation area. Following the Thermal Suite experience, guests can enjoy a private 745-gallon Hydrotherapy Pool area with relaxation beds. Luxurious robes and slippers will be provided. Thermal Suite day passes are available for those guests not booking a treatment. 

Spa treatment highlights include Aromasoul Signature Body Rituals, a collection of four massage therapies inspired by the techniques of ancient cultures. A multi-sensorial journey, these body rituals stimulate mind, body and soul through the combination of exotic oils, soothing music, unique room atomizers and traditional massage strokes. The 90-minute rituals include Arabian, Oriental, Mediterranean and Indian inspired treatments. At the conclusion, the therapist serves the guest a special herbal tea in the relaxation room. To rejuvenate and revitalize, guests will also enjoy age-defying facials, scrubs and mud wraps. For the ultimate Cunard Royal Spa & Fitness Centre encounter, guests may opt for a Day Spa Escape package to re:lax, re:lease, re:plenish, re:balance, re:shape, re:new and re:connect.  Ranging from three-and-a-half to four-and-a-half hours, these packages combine an intuitive collection of complementary treatments for an unforgettable spa experience.

The Stylespa Salon is a full service hair and beauty facility that features four Kérastase Hair Rituals, each designed to address the specific needs of a guest's hair, as determined by the Kérastase Ambassador. A five-step process will rebalance, bathe, treat, revitalize and retexture hair.

For the Gentlemen
The spa will include a range of treatments and products specially designed for the distinguished Cunard gentlemen. These include a traditional shave and barbering experience, tailored skin programs and revitalizing massages.

A Fresh Focus on Fitness
Queen Victoria's fitness centre includes a fully appointed work-out facility and aerobics studio. A half-dozen branded fitness programs will be featured, including the renowned Pilates Institute at Sea, as well as Gravity, a trainer-led program using a glide board and body weight; Yo'Fit, a yoga program; Multitrax Indoor Cycling; Push and Lift, a resistance workout program; and Zumba, the world's hottest Latino-inspired dance aerobic workout. To promote wellbeing, the spa also offers a guided meditation program, one-on-one personal training, acupuncture by registered therapists of the British Acupuncture Council and an ionic detox program, together with a complimentary program of aerobics, step and conditioning classes. Guest lectures, with noted experts, including Michael King, the creator of the Pilates Institute Method will be featured.

For more information about Cunard Line and Queen Victoria, contact your travel professional, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises Extends Partnership With 
Explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau

FORT LAUDERDALE, Nov 29 – Regent Seven Seas Cruises has signed a three-year extension of its exclusive partnership with renowned naturalist Jean-Michel Cousteau. Under the new agreement, Cousteau, the son of legendary ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau and an acclaimed filmmaker, educator and environmentalist, will continue to make personal appearances several times per year on Regent ships as a special lecturer. Additionally, his Ocean Futures Society counselors will lead Regent’s Ambassadors of the Environment Youth Circles of Interest program aboard Alaska and Tahiti voyages during the summer months, and in Tahiti over the holidays.

Regent’s relationship with Cousteau began in 1999, when the famed explorer hosted a marine life-focused enrichment program aboard Regent’s Paul Gauguin®. The success of that program led to annual visits from Cousteau and later environmentally themed enrichment programs from his Ocean Futures Society ( Soon after, Cousteau introduced Ambassadors of the Environment, an innovative and entertaining enrichment program that provides entire families with the skills and practices necessary to ensure a sustainable environment going forward. The program was launched on Regent’s Tahiti departures and has recently expanded to include summer Alaska voyages. 

“Jean-Michel Cousteau’s ongoing enrichment programs aboard Regent ships are an example of the customization Regent provides its guests, who have the rare opportunity to discover destinations their own way, inspired by the knowledge and experience of world-renowned experts,” said Sophie Vlessing, vice president, customer strategy and marketing for Regent. 

In 2008, Jean-Michel Cousteau will sail with Regent as a special lecturer during Seven Seas Mariner’s South America cruise in February and March; aboard Seven Seas Navigator’s Discovery Collection cruises to India and Africa in October and November; and aboard Paul Gauguin to Tahiti and the Cook Islands in September.

The Ambassadors of the Environment Circles of Interest introduce young travelers and their families to extraordinary natural wonders while demonstrating imaginative ways to build sustainability into their everyday lives. Ideal for families, the program gives participants direct, hands-on experience and knowledge of marine eco-systems while emphasizing the importance of conservation. Through slide shows, hikes, diving excursions (where appropriate) and discussions, families are introduced to the natural wonders of the region’s environment. Presentations focus on biodiversity, the region’s unique characteristics, plus human impact and resource management. Families learn important biological and ecological scientific principles, and explore their relationship to ecosystem sustainability. Further details can be found on Regent’s website,

Regent’s schedule of Ambassadors of the Environment programs in Alaska and Tahiti from December 2007 through December 2008 is as follows:

  • Paul Gauguin/Tahiti – Dec 19 & 29, 2007; June 7, 14, 25; July 5, 16, 26; Aug 2, 9, 16, 27; Dec 20, 27, 2008

  • Seven Seas Mariner/Alaska – June 4, 11, 18, 25; July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; Aug 6, 2008

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Crystal's New Certified Wine & Cheese Sommeliers Offer Guests a World of Gastronomic Exploration

LOS ANGELES, Nov 2007 - Where can connoisseurs savor the perfect pairing of 'vin et fromage' from a 25,000-bottle cellar of more than 350 labels and 40 types of cheeses while traveling the globe? Where can the intrepid traveler learn first-hand that the first cheese was made in the Middle East or that an aged Dutch Gouda is the perfect complement to a California Chardonnay? Only aboard Crystal Cruises 2008 voyages, when all of the onboard wine sommeliers will be certified by the revered Court of Master Sommeliers and certified Cheese Sommeliers will be introduced on the luxury line's 60+ voyages in destinations around the world. 

Overseeing the certification of Crystal's wine sommeliers is Master Sommelier Robert Bath, one of only 124 worldwide to hold this title and the creative force behind the acclaimed wine program at the lauded French Laundry. Cheese Sommeliers will be certified by Professor Gerhard Ebner of the International Cheese Academy at the Hotel and Tourism School in Bad Gleichenberg, Austria. Certification for Crystal's cheese and wine sommeliers takes more than 60 hours of schooling and five-and-a-half hours of testing. The training and knowledge of the wine sommeliers allows guests to turn enjoyable samplings into edifying experiences with in-depth information about the history, horticulture, vineyards, and subtle flavors of the wines being tasted, including such rare and extraordinary wines as:

  • Graham's Vintage Port - Oporto, Portugal (Magnum) 1977 

  • Château Mouton-Rothschild - Pauillac, France 1959 

  • Château Petrus - Bordeaux, France 1971 

  • Grange Hermitage - South Australia 1986 

  • Serpico, Feudi di San Gregorio - Campania, Italy 2000 

  • Insignia, Joseph Phelps Vineyards - Napa Valley 2001 

  • Shiraz, "Heysen" Rolf Binder - Barossa Valley, Australia 2003 

  • Brunello di Montalcino, Poggio Antico - Tuscany, Italy 2001 

From Le Riopelle de l'Isle, a rare triple cream cheese from Isle-aux-Grues (Goose Island) in Québec, to the mildly spicy Saint Albray from the French Pyrenees, the cheese sommeliers will be expanding Crystal's selection of regional and artisanal cheeses, and can offer insights on sampling suggestions, the harmony with wines and spirits, and information on the history, manufacturing and fine distinctions of each cheese. The extensive hands-on training, which includes visiting dairies and cheese shops, and studying and tasting fine cheeses, provides the sommeliers with in-depth knowledge of unique blends from numerous countries worldwide with a special emphasis on France, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and England. 

"Great travel experiences include sights, sounds, and also tastes," says Toni Neumeister, Crystal's vice president of food and beverages. "Our guests are great wine aficionados who enjoy our onboard cellars and the sampling of regional wines. Our new certified experts will offer an added dimension to the culinary experience by educating and encouraging both novices and connoisseurs to discover new wines and cheeses that enhance their dining and travel encounters."

The extraordinary culinary experience is further enhanced by unique shoreside adventures such as an afternoon filled with French gastronomic delights at the Relais Château Saint-James, located in the tiny French village of Bouliac or a two-and-a-half-hour cooking demonstration organized under the direction of the virtuoso chef and owner of Le Moulin de Mougins, Mr. Alain Llorca. 

Crystal's impressive wine cellars complement an award-winning dining experience with the great wines of California, Italy and France, and excellent selections from Austria, Chile, Spain and Australia. A leader in onboard education and culinary exploration, Crystal features intimate wine-makers dinners during each voyage, select Ultimate Vintage Room Dinners throughout the year, and a series of specially themed Crystal Wine & Food Festival voyages highlighted by famed wine makers, world-renowned chefs, special menus, cooking demonstrations, and wine tastings.

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Cunard Line and Veuve Clicquot Team Up to Toast Queen Victoria

VALENCIA, CA, Nov. 27 -- Nothing quite says "bon voyage" for an ocean-going adventure like a glass of bubbly so it's most appropriate that Cunard Line and Veuve Clicquot raise their glasses (figuratively) to say "cheers" and toast the announcement that they are continuing their brand alliance with the debut of the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar onboard Queen Victoria.  On December 10, Cunard's Queen Victoria will be officially named by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall in the presence of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in Southampton, England and will christen the ship with a magnum of the renowned champagne house's Yellow Label.

The tastes of our discerning guests are appropriately matched with the enjoyment of drinking Veuve Clicquot Champagne and we are delighted to, once again, feature a Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar aboard our new Cunard liner," said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line, referencing the two companies' successful partnership that was started with the same venue onboard Queen Mary 2.

Located on Deck 2 of the triple-height Grand Lobby, the 1920's Art Deco-style champagne bar will serve Veuve Clicquot Champagne exclusively. Appropriately, the Champagnes are paired with fresh delicacies during the pre-dinner and post-dinner hours, a further demonstration of Cunard's appreciation for the finest culinary traditions.

An elegant space featuring marbleized glass elements, the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar is sure to become a popular gathering place offering vintage champagnes from the Champagne-Ardenne region of northern France. Accommodating 34 guests, the Bar's design elements form a subtle backdrop for curved glass "showcase" panels with inset boxes featuring a variety of the brands premium Champagnes. Queen Victoria will enter service on December 11, embarking on a 10-day maiden Christmas Markets Voyage to the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and Belgium. For more information about Cunard Line and Queen Victoria, contact your travel professional, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to

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Alaska Cruise Leader Warms Up for Winter with Tropical Itineraries

SEATTLE, Nov 26 – Cruise West, long known for its leadership in Alaska cruising, is trading glaciers and brown bears for exotic birds, pearls, and snorkeling this winter in multiple, sun-soaked itineraries. The company that was founded by the late Chuck West, an adventuresome Alaska bush pilot, is taking its distinctive brand of up-close, casual and personal experiential cruising that has become well known in Alaska, and sailing south for the winter with itineraries that allow guests to bask in the warmth of the pristine South Pacific, explore the rich marine life and history in Mexico’s Sea of Cortés or take in the prolific wildlife and beaches of Panama & Costa Rica. All cruises offer onboard naturalists and topical expert lecturers to bring each distinct destination to life. 

2008 South Pacific Itineraries Onboard The Luxury Flagship Spirit of Oceanus
The precious gems of Polynesia and Melanesia are explored on Cruise West’s aptly named Pearls of Polynesia itinerary. This 12-night sailing between Fiji and Papeete visits Beqa, Fiji, to watch a traditional firewalking ceremony; the Cook Islands including Atiu, “The Land of the Birds,” which rarely receives visits from tourists; and Tonga to meet with local villagers, participate in a kava ceremony and snorkel in the pristine waters. Pearls of Polynesia departs on January 23 and February 26, 2008. 

The 11-night Island Sanctuaries itinerary, which visits the remote oases of French Polynesia, was designed with nature lovers in mind. On this round trip journey from Papeete, guests will snorkel in Rangiroa, the second largest atoll in the world; visit a pearl farm in Takapoto; and travel through the Marquesas Islands to meet villagers and explore the plush terrain. This itinerary sails on February 2 and 12, 2008. A post-cruise extension to remote Easter Island is available on February 2nd departure only. 

The 16-night Legends of the Pacific sailing explores the islands of Micronesia, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, traveling between Guam and Fiji. The Spirit of Oceanus will bring guests to areas seldom visited by other travelers, on an insider’s expedition to native villages, World War II sites and tiny islands. Highlights include snorkeling at Tonoas Island, the center for the Japanese Navy during WWII; meeting native villagers throughout the islands and enjoying performances of their traditional dance and song; and visiting the tropical forest of Pohnpei Island which is home to 40 species of birds, reptiles and deer. This itinerary will sail on January 7 and March 11, 2008.

Upgraded Spirit of Yorktown Explores the Waters of Mexico
A seven-night Sea of Cortés Whales & Wildlife cruise is offered December 22 through March 1, 2008, onboard the newly upgraded 138-guest Spirit of Yorktown. The itinerary is designed to allow guests to become intimately acquainted with Mexico’s family-friendly culture through enriching interaction with local residents. Onboard kayaks help provide an up-close experience with the region’s prolific sea and bird life. All cruises sail round trip from Cabo San Lucas and include the picturesque seaside village and mission town of Loreto, and Isla Espiritú Santo, home to several plant and animal species only found on this island. Active guests will enjoy kayaking, snorkeling and nature walks at the serene islands Los Islotes and Isla Partida. Guests may also add-on a spectacular four-night Copper Canyon post-cruise land tour.

Prolific Wildlife, Two Warm Seas & One Grand Canal in Central America
Guests can feel the heat in Panama & Costa Rica on the nine-night Between Two Seas itinerary. This cruise offers activities galore including guided nature walks, swimming, kayaking, snorkeling and dancing with the indigenous people of the Emberá Village in the remote Darién Jungle. This cruise traverses the Panama Canal and includes the San Blas Islands and a Kuna Indian Village, Portobelo, the remote Emberá Village in the Darién Jungle, Coiba National Park, Golfo Dulce, Caletas Beach and Manuel Antonio National Park, known for its prolific wildlife and bird viewing. This cruise is offered December 18 through April 13, 2008.

Cruise West’s up-close, casual and personal style of small-ship cruising provides the opportunity to explore remote ports and islands that larger ships cannot access, and to leave each destination with only footprints behind. For more information or to book a cruise, call 1-800-296-8307 or visit

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 2008 World Cruise Guests Invited to 
Exclusive Event with Hawaii Governor

FORT LAUDERDALE,  Nov 26 – Regent Seven Seas Cruises is offering guests aboard its 2008 World Cruise a rare treat in Honolulu: a private evening reception featuring Hawai’i Governor Linda Lingle at her ceremonial residence, Washington Place. The reception takes place on January 13, 2008, and is open exclusively to guests participating in the full 115-night World Cruise. Best known as the former home of Queen Lili’uokalani, Hawaii’s last reigning monarch, Washington Place has been at the center of social and political life in Hawai’i throughout its 160-year history. Following the Queen’s death, this elegant Greek Revival treasure served as the Hawaiian governor’s Executive Mansion for 80 years, before finally being designated a National Historic Landmark earlier this year.

“In keeping with our tradition of providing travelers with unique access to memorable experiences, we are delighted to offer Regent World Cruise guests this special opportunity in Honolulu,” said Darius Mehta, the line’s director of land programs. “Governor Lingle personally selected Washington Place as the ideal venue for this event due to its historic value and significance to Hawai’i.”

Departing January 6, 2008 from San Francisco, World Cruise guests will travel in stylish luxury aboard 700-guest all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Voyager as she circumnavigates the globe, visiting 51 ports in 26 countries throughout the South Pacific, Orient and Arabia, as well as the Mediterranean and Bermuda. For more details, visit:

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'I Love The Nightlife': Celebrity Solstice to Present the Coolest New Places to See and be Seen Along with Longtime Favorites 

MIAMI, Nov. 26 -- Celebrity Cruises will present a stellar line-up of nightclubs and lounges on the line's new Celebrity Solstice, scheduled to launch in December, 2008. From an intimate, enriching wine cellar to a vibrant club that transforms with each night's dance theme, the 2,850-guest ship will offer guests some of the most stylish and varied public spaces at sea.

"Our Solstice-class fleet will present several entirely new venues, along with creative twists on some of our guests' longtime favorites," said Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Dan Hanrahan. "We think our guests will find the design and style in every space not only inviting, but also absolutely stunning."

Indulge in New Hot Spots' on Celebrity Solstice

Cellar Masters: The sophisticated Cellar Masters wine bar will deliver exceptional wines by the glass and bottle, and the superb sommelier service that is a Celebrity Cruises standard. An ideal locale for enrichment opportunities, Cellar Masters also will present the renowned Riedel comparative wine-tasting program introduced across the Celebrity fleet this year. With a design inspired by the deep tones of a winery during a summer sunset, Cellar Masters' interior will deliver an experience that is a perfect balance between the senses and the wine.

Ensemble Lounge: The ideal setting for a pre-dinner cocktail en route to an extraordinary specialty dining experience, the Ensemble Lounge's design pairs classical architectural elements with contemporary treatments. With whimsical patterns suggesting the ebb and flow of varied music rhythms, the space's aubergine accents and stylish, contemporary furniture will reflect a period when jazz greats Duke Ellington and Count Basie reigned supreme.

Passport Bar: Located at the ground level of the sweeping Grand Foyer, the Passport Bar has been designed to make a memorable first impression. Inspired by the contemporary, understated elegance of ocean-going yachts, the Passport Bar will feature a color palette reflective of the Mediterranean, with warm tones of walnut and zebra wood complementing the nautical look.

Quasar: Guests who love the mod, futuristic designs of the '60s and '70s will find Quasar particularly captivating. Cocoon-shaped acrylic chairs suspended from the ceiling will enhance the drama of the space, as will leather banquettes featuring details developed from vintage cars of the "flower power" era. State-of-the-art lighting and four large LED screens will be programd to create a nightly light show synchronized with the music's pulsing beat, making Quasar the happening place where the party can begin or end.

Sky Observation Lounge: The new signature lounge atop Celebrity Solstice will invite guests to participate in multiple styles of dance, with the entire lounge transforming to create an atmosphere reflective of each nightly theme. From wild red for tango nights to midnight blue for ballroom dance, guests will have the opportunity to participate in lessons during the day, in preparation for dancing the night away. Sweeping curves, cloud-like forms and an infinity dome over the dance floor will create a feeling of being suspended in the clouds by night, while during the day, Sky's light-colored palette will provide the perfect backdrop for the venue's spectacular, panoramic views of the sea.

New Twists on Celebrity Favorites

The Martini Bar & Crush: Inspired by water, ice, and snow, The Martini Bar & Crush aboard Celebrity Solstice will give a nod to Celebrity Century's popular Martini Bar, with its own hip twist. This enclave will feature an alluring frosted bar - the perfect chilled surface for enjoying over 100 varieties of vodkas from around the world - and multiple martini mixes, from the classics to the latest creations. New on Celebrity Solstice will be Crush, a small alcove featuring an ice- filled table where guests can participate in caviar and vodka tastings, or even host a private event.

Fortunes Casino: The glamour of Monte Carlo comes to Celebrity Solstice in Fortunes Casino. With its comfortable elegance, European ambience and easy flow, Fortunes will challenge guests to win their favorite games of chance, while those who prefer to observe the action will enjoy comfortable viewing areas. The largest casino in the Celebrity fleet, guests will have the opportunity to take a seat at 16 gaming tables or 200 of the hottest gaming machines.

Michael's Club: A signature space across the Celebrity fleet, Michael's Club on Celebrity Solstice will invite privacy and intimacy, with its classic, English leather club chairs, dramatic black glass chandelier, and a grand Michelangelo marble fireplace paired with contemporary artwork and accessories. The rich, comfortable furnishings will create a warm atmosphere conducive to conversation, amidst a backdrop of soothing piano and jazz music, as well as single malt scotch and cognac tastings.

Celebrity has assembled a team of some of the best designers and architects in the business to lend their lauded talents to the creation of Celebrity Solstice. Those involved in designing the ship's distinctive lounges and nightclubs are 5+Design, BG Studio International, Inc., RTKL, and Celebrity's own Newbuilding & Design team.

Celebrity Solstice

Celebrity Solstice will be the line's first in a class of four 2,850- passenger vessels with an exceptional range of guest-inspired services and amenities. German shipbuilder Meyer Werft, who constructed the line's Century-class fleet (Celebrity Century, Celebrity Mercury, and Celebrity Galaxy) is building the 122,000-ton ship.

Following several weeks of inaugural activities, Celebrity Solstice will make its maiden voyage December 14, 2008, on a seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico; Basseterre, St. Kitts; and Phillipsburg, St. Maarten. The itinerary will be offered on Sundays through April 5, 2009, with an alternating itinerary calling on San Juan, Puerto Rico; Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; Tortola, B.V.I; and Labadee, Haiti, through April 12, 2009. 

For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111 or visit And for a virtual preview of several of the venues on Celebrity Solstice, visit or see Cruise Diva's photos in Hot Spots & New Twists on Celebrity Favorites.

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Cunard Line Takes Delivery of Queen Victoria

Valencia, CA,  Nov 23 - The Italian Prime Minister, Romano Prodi, and the Under Secretary of State, Department for Transport, Jim Fitzpatrick MP, will be present at a high profile Handover Ceremony in Venice on Saturday, November 24 when Cunard takes delivery of the new ocean liner, Queen Victoria. The ceremony, to take place on board the new 90,000-ton vessel at the Fincantieri Marghera shipyard, marks the completion of a ship noted for striking interiors on a par with the "floating palaces" of the twenties and thirties.

Just after 11:00 am, following speeches by Romano Prodi, the Prime Minister of Italy, and Jim Fitzpatrick, MP, Under Secretary of State, Department for Transport, the Italian flag will be ceremonially lowered and the Red Ensign raised. And so another magnificent Cunard liner will enter the Register of British Shipping. The event, attended by an invited audience, will be given a British emphasis by the presence of the Band of the Scots Guards, flown out specially to perform on board throughout the day.

"This ceremony to mark the completion of the ship, and our acceptance of delivery, is just the first of a number of significant events over the next few weeks - including the ship's official naming by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales, in Southampton on Monday, December 10," said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line. "I'm certain the British will take this truly magnificent ship to their hearts, as they have all the Cunard Queens."

Queen Victoria is due to leave the shipyard on November 30, and sail to Southampton - where she will berth at the City Cruise Terminal at 9:30 am on Friday December 7. She will depart on her Maiden Voyage, to a splendid firework display, at 5:00 pm on Tuesday December 11.

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Cunard Continues Tradition of British Heritage with Unique Sporting Pursuit Aboard Queen Victoria

Valencia, CA, Nov 21 - In a move that underscores Cunard's tradition of British heritage and ongoing attention to historical detail, the Line will introduce the sport of fencing, a favorite pastime of Prince Albert, husband and consort of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, aboard its newest ocean liner, Queen Victoria, when she enters service on December 10, 2007. To craft the program, which is another cruise industry first, Cunard turned to Leon Paul Fencing Equipment, the British company whose name has been synonymous with fencing for nearly a century. Run by and for competitive fencers, members of the Leon Paul family have competed in 20 Olympic Games and 30 World Championships, winning 25 national titles.

"Much like the award-winning enrichment programs aboard our ships, the sports and recreation program is designed to provide unique and stimulating guest experiences. The addition of fencing, which relies on keen strategic thinking, does just that," said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line.

Cunard guests will have an opportunity to learn fencing basics or fine-tune their fencing skills with a fully certified instructor using equipment identical to that used by world champions. The fencing program can accommodate up to 10 aspiring or accomplished fencers at a time for foil fencing, the preferred method for elementary fencing classes due to the flexible and lightweight blade and blunted tip. Fencing instruction for guests aged 16 and up will be provided daily by a fully certified fencing instructor.

Other recreational activities include paddle tennis, shuffle board, chess, deck quoits (the maritime version of horse shoes), ping pong, and golf in two golf nets. For more information about Cunard Line and Queen Victoria, contact your travel professional, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to

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Holland America Line Features New South America and
 Antarctica Itineraries in 2009

SEATTLE, Nov. 20 -- Holland America's 2009 South America and Antarctica cruises are teeming with ideal opportunities to journey to exotic destinations and explore the ends of the earth. With new itineraries and more sailings than ever before, guests can choose from an impressive 18 cruises on ms Statendam, ms Prinsendam or flagship ms Amsterdam. The diverse itineraries, which range from 13 to 68 days, include spectacular scenic cruising through the fjords and glaciers of Chile, the opportunity to visit some of the most remote sites in the world like Deception Island in Antarctica and Iguazu Falls, and experience two of the New Seven Wonders of the World chosen in a consumer poll in July: Machu Picchu in Peru and Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Overnight stays in several port favorites allow guests plenty of time to become immersed in local culture and traditions.

"Our South America and Antarctica itineraries are extremely popular because more travelers are seeking cruises with an adventurous edge that take them to unique and interesting locations," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs, for Holland America Line. "By having three ships in South America in 2009, we are able to offer the most extensive program in the region of any major cruise line."

Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage offers dramatic scenery, Amazon adventures: Prinsendam departs Jan. 2 on a 68-day Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. During the cruise, the ship will circumnavigate South America and spend seven days exploring the Amazon River. On the other end of the continent, Prinsendam spends three days cruising in Antarctica, a rare journey for most travelers. On this Grand Voyage, Prinsendam will visit 32 ports in 14 countries, including 13 different ports in Brazil. Guests will enjoy maiden calls at Itajai, Brazil, as well as several overnight stays.

New itineraries journey to countries throughout the Americas: Holland America Line's new 18-, 19- and 22-day itineraries aboard Amsterdam treat guests to overnight calls as well as a maiden port. Departing Valparaiso on April 2, Amsterdam explores Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico, where optional excursions to Machu Picchu, Mayan ruins and UNESCO sites await. The 18-day itinerary disembarks in San Diego, Calif., while the 22-day cruise ends in Seattle, Wash. Those wishing to get way from the winter chill can join Amsterdam's Dec. 2 sailing from Los Angeles to Valparaiso, where guests enjoy 19 days of warm summer weather in the Southern Hemisphere. The itinerary features a maiden call at Corinto, Nicaragua, which has the largest Cathedral in Central America as well as the Ruins of Leon, one of the oldest Spanish colonial settlements in the Americas.

Uncover the Inca Empire, Machu Picchu and the Panama Canal: Statendam's exciting new Inca Discovery cruise takes the ship to Central and South America and the Mexican Riviera. Ranging from 13 to 27 days, guests will have the opportunity to explore exciting ports in five Latin American countries: Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru and Costa Rica, as well as visit Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line's private island. Adventure awaits as the ship departs Fort Lauderdale Jan. 10, and sails to San Diego via a full transit of the Panama Canal. Along the way, Statendam will spend two days in Callao, Peru, giving guests the opportunity to take an excursion to Machu Picchu, one of the most mysterious archeological sites in the world. An extended stay in Fuerte Amador, Panama, as well as other opportunities to become immersed in the Inca culture, highlights the comprehensive itinerary. Guests looking for a shorter cruise can take a 14-day segment from Fort Lauderdale to Callao, or embark in Callao on Jan. 24 and sail a 13-day segment to San Diego. For those who want the full experience, the two segments can be combined for a 27-day sailing from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego.

Antarctic vistas abound on South America cruise: The 20-day South America Explorer and Antarctic Experience itinerary on Amsterdam sails between Rio de Janeiro and Valparaiso, Chile, and also features three days of scenic cruising in Antarctica where colossal glaciers adorned with penguins welcome the ship. The remote continent's pristine beauty and diverse sea life is showcased as Amsterdam sails to Deception Island where guests are treated to a once-in-a-lifetime experience when the ship glides into the caldera of the island's unique horseshoe-shaped volcano. Amsterdam departs Rio on Jan. 4 and Valparaiso on Jan. 24, and the cruise includes ports in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.

Round Cape Horn and follow in Magellan's footsteps: Amsterdam sails the most extensive South American itinerary in just over two weeks with a 16-day cruise that calls at ports throughout Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil. Departing from Rio de Janeiro Feb. 13 and Valparaiso March 1 and 17, guests are treated to two full days in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where they can discover the city's rich heritage or take in a tango show. With the extra time, a trip to spectacular Iguazu Falls also can be arranged. Additional exciting opportunities include rounding Cape Horn, a visit to view the penguins, an Antarctic flyover and extensive scenic fjord and glacier cruising, including the Strait of Magellan. Guests also may book pre- and post-cruise packages in Valparaiso or Rio de Janeiro.

Explore the Amazon River for eight adventurous days: Adventure seekers ready for a touch of the exotic can sail aboard Prinsendam on a 26-day Amazon Explorer itinerary departing from Fort Lauderdale Nov. 25. After encountering a selection of Caribbean ports, the intimate ship will navigate the Amazon River for eight days of scenic cruising. Highlights include an overnight in Manaus, the farthest navigable point for an ocean-going vessel in the heart of the Amazon jungle; crossing the equator and visiting Devil's Island, part of the notorious French penal colony in French Guiana. Shorter segments are available. When in port, guests can choose from a multitude of diverse shore excursions including the exclusive Medallion Collection featuring Overland Adventures; Signature Collection private-car touring; visits to natural, architectural and technical masterpieces from the Wonders of the World Collection; and rare and unusual experiences with the Encore Collection excursions.

For a 2009 South America cruise brochure or for more information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-724-5425 or visit

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More Cruise Line Fuel Surcharges Announced

Nov 2007 -- Crystal Cruises is implementing a fuel surcharge of $7.00 per passenger per day for all 2008 reservations that are not paid in full by Jan 1, 2008. Crystal is protecting any 2008 bookings that are made and paid in full prior to Jan 1, 2008 at the current fare, without the fuel surcharge. There will be no change to the current fuel surcharge of $5.00 per person, per day that is currently in effect for 2007 voyages.

Additionally, Silversea Cruises has announced a $10 per person, per day fuel surcharge for all sailings in 2008.

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NCL Narrows Search for Norwegian Gem Godmother to Five Contestants

MIAMI, Nov 2007—Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced five finalists in its Search for the Latitudes “It” Girl contest, the winner of which will be named Godmother of its new ship, Norwegian Gem. Finalists were selected from more than 500 online video entries submitted by Latitudes members (past NCL guests) showcasing why they should be named the ship’s Godmother and how they embody the qualities of an “It” Girl.

Finalist videos are now posted on and the public is invited to help NCL pick the winner by voting for their favorite “It” Girl finalist now through December 7, 2007. The five finalists will be whisked away to Norwegian Gem’s christening ceremony on December 18, 2007 in New York City where the winner will be announced and will christen the ship. Additionally, she will receive the ultimate “It” Girl treatment on a fabulous seven-day cruise in Norwegian Gem’s posh Garden Villa for her and five members of her entourage.

“We want to thank all of our Latitudes members who participated. We were impressed with the number of creative, funny and heartwarming videos we received from “It” Girls of all ages,” said Colin Veitch, NCL’s president and CEO. “These five finalists—in their own unique way—embody the free-spirited, sophisticated and confident qualities of our new ‘It’ Girl, Norwegian Gem. And in keeping with the spirit of NCL’s Freestyle Cruising, we’re asking the public to vote for their favorite finalist, so they can help us determine who should be Norwegian Gem’s Godmother.”

The contest finalists* are: 

  • Lauren Kampf, 22, from Oakland, N.J.; her video takes a comedic look at all of the activities and adventures offered on an NCL cruise. Lauren is a recent Music and Theater graduate of Washington and Lee University and has sailed on four NCL cruises;

  • Shannon Maxey, 29, from Virginia Beach, Va.; her video shows her versatility and exotic talents. Shannon is an artist and has a Master of Fine Arts from Old Dominion University. She recently sailed on Pride of Hawai`i;

  • Cindy Cardella, 31, from Fairfield, N.J.; her video chronicles her NCL cruise experiences from childhood onwards, and highlights all of the places she has visited. Cindy has sailed with NCL on more than 30 cruises and is a stay at home mom with three boys, ages five, three and five months;

  • Louise Strong, 44, from South Hero, Vt.; her video discusses and demonstrates her ebullient love for NCL. Louise is a high school administrator at Essex High School in Essex Junction, Vt. and has been married to her husband Ed for 22 years. Louise has sailed on 16 NCL cruises;

  • Mary O’Dea, 75, from Milford, Pa.; her video illustrates how NCL, and NCL crew members, are a part of her life. Mary has four children and has sailed on eight NCL cruises.

In a video entry, entrants were encouraged to include how they embody the attributes of NCL’s hottest, hippest new ship, Norwegian Gem, as well as the free spirit of NCL’s Freestyle Cruising. These characteristics include sophistication, independence and confidence, eagerness to explore new destinations and learn new things, glamour, style and culture, along with a youthful and adventurous spirit regardless of age. The five finalists were selected on creativity and originality of their submission. In addition to the five finalists, NCL is recognizing the following five entrants as honorable mentions; and their videos will also be available for viewing at

  • Leah Goodman, 23, of Radford, Va.;

  • Meghan Hasselberg, 28, of Arlington Heights, Ill.;

  • Kristin Mueller, 30, of Minneapolis, Minn.;

  • Alane Aihara, 44, of Makawao, Hawai`i;

  • Marlene Ebeo, 69, of Pearl City, Hawai`i.

*All finalists are subject to the verification of eligibility.

NCL plans to build two new third generation Freestyle Cruising ships for delivery in 2010. NCL today has the youngest fleet in the industry, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy the flexibility of Freestyle Cruising on the newest, most contemporary ships at sea, and has recently added its latest new ship, the 2,400 passenger Norwegian Gem.

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Windstar Cruises Announces a Fuel Surcharge 

SEATTLE, Nov. 16 -- Windstar Cruises, which operates a three-ship fleet of luxury yachts that explore the hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world's most treasured destinations, announced today that a fuel surcharge of $8.50 per person, per day for future sailings would be implemented due to escalating fuel prices. The surcharge applies to all currently published sailings through March 2009, that have not been paid in full by Dec. 15, 2007.

"We regret having to take this action and hope our guests understand the impact that fuel prices are having in today's economic environment," said Diane Moore, Executive Vice President, Windstar Cruises.

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Majestic America Line Announces a Fuel Surcharge 

SEATTLE, Nov. 16 -- Majestic America Line, one of the world's premier river cruise lines and the largest river and coastal cruising company in America, announced today that a fuel surcharge of $8.50 per person, per day for future sailings would be implemented due to escalating fuel prices. The surcharge applies to new bookings made after Dec. 15, 2007, and to existing bookings that are not paid in full by the same date.

"We regret having to take this action and hope our guests understand the impact that fuel prices are having in today's economic environment," said Diane Moore, Executive Vice President, Majestic America Line.

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Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Announces Fuel Supplement 

MIAMI, Nov. 16 -- In an effort to deal with the sharp increase in fuel prices, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today announced the implementation of a fuel supplement of $5 per guest per day for sailings that depart on or after February 1, 2008.

"I thank our guests for understanding our need to implement this fuel supplement," said Brian Rice, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "We have gone to great lengths to minimize the impact of rising fuel costs, for example, designing and building more fuel-efficient ships, installing energy-saving lighting, and using air conditioning more efficiently. Unfortunately, as fuel prices have reached record highs, we are forced to take this extraordinary step to offset those costs."

The company has taken measures to soften the impact of this decision. For example, the company will not apply the supplement on any bookings where the guest has already paid the full cost of the cruise. In addition, guests who were booked before November 16, and who do not agree to pay the supplement, may cancel their reservation prior to December 7, 2007, for a full refund of all monies they have paid to the company, and they will not be subject to any cancellation charges that would normally apply. Those guests who do not cancel their reservation and pay in full will receive one logo item per stateroom, onboard their cruise. Finally, the supplement will apply only to the first and second guests in each stateroom and will not exceed $70 per person, per sailing.

The supplement will assist the company in offsetting the widespread increases in fuel prices, which have more than doubled in recent years. The supplement will be periodically reviewed, with the intent of being temporary, and may be adjusted as fuel prices fluctuate. The company will provide travel agents with an administrative fee of $12 per existing booking to help offset the costs associated with contacting guests with existing reservations and collecting payment of the supplement for each booking that sails on or after February 1, 2008. The charge will involve three Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises. Pullmantur Cruises, the Madrid-based, wholly-owned subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd, has also implemented a fuel supplement of (euro) 50 for its tours and cruises that depart on or after January 1, 2008.

"We know the rising cost of fuel has affected everyone, and, unfortunately, our company is no different," Rice said. "We hope the options we are providing, including additional time for guests to finalize vacation plans, will underscore our commitment to our guests."

The supplement is effective for new and existing North American bookings. The company cannot predict the impact of the fuel supplement on its earnings, as it does not know the number of new or existing bookings that will accept the proposed supplement.

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Oceania Cruises Implements Fuel Surcharge

Miami, FL - As a result of the rapidly escalating price of fuel, Oceania Cruises is implementing a fuel surcharge of $7 per guest per day for all reservations that are not paid in full by December 1, 2007. The surcharge applies to all currently published sailings through April 2009. 

"At the time that we set our current pricing, oil was trading at approximately $60 per barrel and it is now quickly approaching $100 per barrel. This is the first time we have implemented a surcharge and I hope our guests will understand the root cause of this necessary action,” stated Bob Binder, President of Oceania Cruises. 

The fuel supplement of $7 per guest per day is effective on December 1, 2007 for all new reservations and existing reservations that have not applied final payment. Guests choosing to pay in full prior to December 1, 2007 will be exempt from this surcharge.

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Star Clippers Ship Makes Line's First Transit of Panama Canal

MIAMI, Nov 16 -- Star Flyer made history for Star Clippers yesterday as the first ship in the fleet to transit the Panama Canal. En route to its new homeport in Tahiti, the tall ship first will undergo a three-week drydock in Panama to make the vessel ready for French Polynesia. With the line's three vessels sailing in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Far East (by way of the Suez Canal), there had never before been a need for Star Clippers' ships to transit the Panama Canal. Star Flyer's move to year-round cruising in Tahiti enabled Star Clippers to take advantage of the opportunity to sail a ship through the lakes and locks of the man-made engineering marvel.

"Our guests tend to be on the more adventurous side, and we're always thrilled when we can offer them an exhilarating experience such as transiting the Panama Canal," said Jack Chatham, vice president of sales and marketing for Star Clippers. "Because Star Flyer will sail in Tahiti year-round, who knows when we'll go through the canal again, possibly making this a true once-in-a-lifetime experience for the guests on board."

During the 11-night cruise, which departed Bridgetown, Barbados, Nov. 4, guests had the opportunity to explore ports in Venezuela, Curaçao and Colombia before disembarking in Panama City. Following the drydock, Star Flyer will make its way to Papeete, Tahiti, without guests to allow the crew to fully prepare the ship for its new home. The first official cruise in Tahiti is set to depart Dec. 30, and then the ship will begin sailing three distinct products in the region -- seven-, 10- and 11-night round-trip Papeete cruises.

During Star Flyer's seven-night itinerary, the ship visits Huahine, Raiatea, Taha'a, Bora Bora, and Cook Bay and Opunohu Bay, Moorea, with an overnight in Papeete before disembarkation. The 10- and 11-night cruises take Star Flyer to the Society and Tuamotus Islands, with special cruising in the Rangiroa Lagoon. The ship calls at Fakarava, Rangiroa, Bora Bora, Raiatea, Taha'a, Huahine and Moorea.

Star Clippers combines the luxury of mega-yacht cruising with the thrill of sailing aboard an authentic clipper ship. Guests rediscover what sailing was like during the golden age of tall ships while visiting intimate ports of call untouched by larger cruise ships. The four- and five-masted clipper ships feature a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere. Passengers dress in resort-casual attire and dine in one unhurried, open seating. Whether unwinding in the bowsprit net while gazing at the sea below or climbing the mast for a panoramic view of the horizon, a unique sailing adventure awaits.

To request a brochure, call toll-free (800) 442-0556 or e-mail . To make a reservation, contact a travel professional. For information, call Star Clippers at (800) 442-0551 or visit to view a video about the line or take a virtual tour of the Star Clippers ships.

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NCL to Institute Fuel Supplement

MIAMI, Nov 15 – NCL Corporation announced today that it will begin assessing guests a fuel supplement in response to record high fuel prices. Effective on all new NCL and NCL America bookings made on or after December 1, 2007, the fuel supplement will be $7 per person per day for the first and second guests in a stateroom and $3 per person per day for any additional guests in the same stateroom.

“With oil prices skyrocketing, the fuel supplement is a necessary step for us,” said Colin Veitch, NCL’s president and CEO.

Prior to finalizing the details of the fuel supplement, the company sought input from members of its President’s Club, those travel partners that do the largest volume of business with NCL.

“It was helpful to hear feedback from our travel partners. We value their opinions and took their input into consideration when setting the parameters for this supplement. Implementing it on new bookings only will enable travel partners to continue to focus on selling new customers on an NCL cruise versus servicing existing bookings,” Veitch added. “Decisions like this are often difficult and, in this case, we hope we have found the right balance for NCL and our valued travel partners, as well as our guests.”

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Holland America Line Increases Popular 7-Day Southern Caribbean Sailings
 in 2008

SEATTLE, Nov. 14 -- In 2008, Holland America Line doubles departures of its seven-day deep southern Caribbean itinerary, created for those seeking a week-long cruise to lesser visited Caribbean ports. In January the company will deploy ms Westerdam on seven cruises and ms Eurodam on a special New Year's Eve cruise. The latter departure visits Oranjestad, Aruba, Willemstad, Curacao and the company's award winning private island Half Moon Cay.

"We are the only major cruise line to offer a seven-day itinerary that sails so far south from Florida," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "It is a popular cruise among our guests for the unique ports of call and the extra day at sea."

The first port call is at Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line's award-winning private Bahamian island, where guests can unwind on white sandy beaches and enjoy the aqua blue waters. For the more adventurous, the island offers guided Aqua Trax tours, deep-sea fishing, kayak tours, horseback riding, parasailing and snorkeling. Another highlight of the cruise includes a late night departure from Oranjestad, Aruba, where guests can enjoy the vibrant nightlife of the island. During the day guests can try scuba diving without the gear on a submarine adventure. The Atlantis submarine dives to depths of up to 150 feet viewing exotic marine life and shipwrecks that surround the island. At the final port call, Willemstad, Curacao, visitors can tour the Distillery at Chobolobo Mansion, where famous Blue Curacao liqueur is still made by hand. Other sightseeing on the island includes 17-century Fort Amsterdam, Mikve Emmanuel Israel, the oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere, Pietermaai Cathedral, the Franklin D. Roosevelt House and the many distinctive examples of Dutch colonial architecture. For more information, consult a travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit

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Sail Down Under With Holland America Line in 2009

SEATTLE, Nov. 13 -- Holland America Line returns to the lands of kiwis and koalas in 2009 when ms Amsterdam sails a majestic 67-day voyage to the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand. The cruise is highlighted in a new 2009 Grand Voyage brochure currently available from the premium cruise line, and also will be featured in the 2009 Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and Asia brochure to be released next month. 

Guests begin their 67-day voyage aboard Amsterdam Sept. 26, 2009, from Seattle, Wash., and sail westward toward the South Pacific where island jewels beckon. They can explore the region both on land and by sea in the Society and Cook Islands. Relish the discovery of remote ports of call including Pago Pago, Samoa; and Port-Vila, Vanuatu, where cascading waterfalls and tropical rain forests abound. Amsterdam continues on to Cairns, Australia, the gateway to the 1,600-mile-long Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef system. Then, after spending three full days in bustling Sydney, the 1,380-passenger ship heads to New Zealand for calls at popular ports including Christchurch, Napier and Tauranga. The ship returns to Los Angeles via Hawaii Dec. 2, 2009.

Overnight stays in Bora Bora and Sydney, along with an extended stay in Papeete, Tahiti, enhance the itinerary. Additional highlights include scenic cruising through New Zealand's Milford Sound, a 12-mile long incision through 5,000-foot hillsides, and Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The voyage also offers more than 20 relaxing days at sea with plenty of opportunities to rejuvenate in the Greenhouse Spa, participate in a cooking class at the Culinary Arts Center or learn more about various ports in one of the many Explorations Speaker Series presentations.

Holland America Line also offers departures from Seattle, Vancouver or Los Angeles, and segments from 31 to 36 days are available for those seeking a shorter cruise. Reservations are now available for the Grand Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific Voyage. Early booking bonus amenities for full-cruise guests include airfare, prepaid hotel service charges, shipboard credit, luggage delivery service and limousine transfers when booking select stateroom categories; amenities vary by cruise and booking date. Amsterdam's Grand Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific Voyage is available to book for the full cruise or in segments as short as 31 days.

The Holland America Line premium cruise experience
At the heart of every Holland America Line cruise is a warm and award- winning style of service that is never in the way and never out of reach. Sophisticated and savory menus enhance every culinary experience, with options to suit every taste. Whether it's a five-course meal in the Main Dining Room, an intimate table at the elegant Pinnacle Grill or fare while relaxing poolside, the crew of Holland America Line know how to orchestrate a truly memorable dining affair. Culinary staff and guest chefs will lead cooking classes and demonstrations in the onboard Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine, and, as part of the Explorations Speaker Series, special guest lecturers will sail on segments of the Grand Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific Voyage to offer unique and enriching perspectives on regional art, history and culture. The Explorations Café - powered by the New York Times - enables guests to stay connected to loved ones. To rest up for the next day, guests are assured a good night's sleep with the Mariner's Dream stateroom amenities, including luxurious beds and linens.

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

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises Guests Can Attend Rio de Janeiro's World-Famous Carnival Competition

FORT LAUDERDALE – Nov 12, 2007 – Regent Seven Seas Cruises will provide its guests with a rare opportunity to witness the world-famous Winner’s Parade at Rio de Janeiro’s legendary Carnival celebration, in conjunction with a 17-night South America voyage aboard 700-guest, all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Mariner®. The cruise departs February 4, 2008 from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Regent’s South America journey aboard Seven Seas Mariner will call at ports in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, including a visit to Rio de Janeiro on February 9, 2008. There, guests will have the opportunity to visit the world-renowned Winner’s Parade in the Sambadromo (known as the “stadium of samba”). The Winner’s Parade, also known as the “Champions Parade,” is the highlight event of the Carnival celebration.

The Winner’s Parade takes place on the first Saturday after Carnival is complete, and features the top six samba schools from the five-day celebration. Each school presents several hundred dancers, huge percussion sections, and elaborate floats showcasing the world’s best and most beautiful samba dancers in action. “The rare opportunity to enjoy Rio de Janeiro’s world-famous Carnival celebration in the legendary Sambadrome is another example of Regent’s dedication to providing guests with unique travel experiences,” said Darius Mehta, Director of Land Programs for Regent. 

Seven Seas Mariner guests should contact Regent’s Travel Concierge at 888-868-7321 or 888-TOUR-321 to order tickets, which will be delivered to guests upon arrival in Rio de Janiero. Ticket packages include transportation to and from the Winner’s Parade, and an escort is provided for every 20 guests. The package costs $345 per guest. Because tickets are extremely limited, guests are encouraged to act quickly. Additional details can be found on Regent’s website at

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Carnival Destiny to Operate New Six-Port Caribbean Cruise Program 
from San Juan in March 2008

MIAMI, Nov 13 – Carnival Cruise Lines’ 2,642-passenger Carnival Destiny will launch a unique seven-day cruise program from San Juan featuring extended calls at six tropical destinations – St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Dominica, and St. Thomas/St. John. The new schedule begins March 2, 2008. 

  • Featured on the new itinerary is a day-long stop at St. Kitts, an island paradise offering a landscape of rugged mountains and dense rainforest, which serves as a dramatic backdrop to magnificent beaches that range in color from black to golden. The island also offers excellent examples of West Indian and Creole architecture, as well as centuries-old fortresses and plantations. 

  • At 108 square miles, Antigua is the largest of the Leeward Islands and known for a multitude of beaches, some 365 of them, in fact, or "one for every day of the year." Antigua also features a variety of historical sites including Nelson's Dockyard, the Caribbean's version of Colonial Williamsburg. 

  • Often referred to as the “crown jewel” of the Windward Islands, St. Lucia is distinguished by the Pitons, twin volcanic mountains that overlook a lush landscape of flowers, fruit trees, cane fields, rain forests and white and black sand beaches.

  • A friendly British isle boasting particularly beautiful aqua-blue waters and white sand beaches, Barbados also offers a diversity of shopping, dining and watersports opportunities. 

  • The largest of the Windward Islands, Dominica is a 289-square-mile island with lush mountains, hot springs and volcanoes, as well as gorgeous white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters teeming with tropical fish. 

  • One of the Caribbean’s most popular islands, St. Thomas boasts excellent duty-free shopping bargains and world-famous beaches. The stop includes an optional shore excursion to St. John, a 20-square-mile island paradise whose Trunk Bay Beach consistently ranks among the world’s best.

“Carnival Destiny’s new seven-day program offers consumers the unmatched opportunity to visit six different Caribbean destinations including rarely visited ports and some of the Caribbean’s most popular islands, each offering unforgettable and unique experiences ashore,” said Vicki Freed, Carnival’s senior vice president of sales and guest services.

A “floating resort” in every sense of the word, the 101,000-ton Carnival Destiny offers an array of dining, entertainment and activity options for guests of all ages. Housed within the vessel’s 13 passenger decks are four dining rooms, including an expansive 1,200-seat poolside eatery featuring a 24-hour pizzeria, along with a 14,500-square-foot health and fitness center and duty-free shopping mall. The ship also houses 18 lounges and bars, including a sports bar, wine bar, piano bar, and a multi-level theater showcasing lavish revues. Its family friendly amenities include “Camp Carnival” and “Club O2,” with facilities and activities for children and teens, respectively. An Internet café with ship-wide Wi-Fi access and cell phone service are also available. Carnival Destiny also offers a variety of comfortable and spacious accommodations including a wide selection of balcony staterooms and suites. All feature the exclusive Carnival Comfort Bed sleep system with plush mattresses, luxurious duvets and high quality linens and pillows.

Carnival Victory will assume the Carnival Destiny’s new six-port Caribbean program when it repositions when it repositions to San Juan in November 2008. Reservations are currently being accepted for Carnival’s new six-port, seven-day southern Caribbean cruises from San Juan. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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SeaDream Yacht Club Announces 2009 Sailings

SeaDream Yacht Club has announced its 2009 schedules and itineraries through April of that year. As in 2007 and 2008, both SeaDream I and II will be sailing in the Caribbean during that period. Of special interest for 2009 is a call at the port of Miami by SeaDream II. On April 5, 2009 SeaDream II will commence a seven-day sailing from San Juan to Miami. On April 12 the SeaDream yacht will commence a seven-day roundtrip voyage, Miami-Miami. That voyage will call on West Palm Beach, Port Lucaya, Egg Island and Nassau in the Bahamas, and will also visit Key West where it will overnight before returning to Miami.

Also noteworthy for 2009 is a new embarkation and disembarkation port for SeaDream I--Castries on the island of St. Lucia, one of the Windward Islands of the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles. Voyages for both SeaDream I and II will also commence and disembark at San Juan, St. Thomas, and Antigua. 

These 2009 schedules and itineraries may now be found on SeaDream’s website Listed are SeaDream’s Book Today and Save Specials which are capacity controlled and may be changed at any time.

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Holland America Line Marks 10th Anniversary of 
Half Moon Cay Private Island

SEATTLE, Nov. 9 -- Holland America Line will mark the 10th anniversary of the opening of Half Moon Cay as a cruise ship port of call on Dec. 12 when the ms Amsterdam visits the premium line's award-winning private Bahamian island.

In December 1996, Holland America Line purchased the uninhabited 2,400-acre island of Little San Salvador from several Bahamian owners for $6 million and debuted Half Moon Cay as a port of call Dec. 12, 1997. The line initially invested $16 million in the facility -- which today is situated on approximately 50 acres -- and developed it according to the guidelines of the Business Charter for Sustainable Development established by the International Chamber of Commerce.

"Dec. 12 celebrates a milestone for Half Moon Cay, and we are extremely proud of what we have accomplished on the island in collaboration with the Bahamian government," said Stein Kruse, president and chief executive officer, Holland America Line. "Not only has the island become a favorite port of call for our guests, but we've also been able to positively contribute to the local economy by providing jobs and tourism income."

Half Moon Cay, located less than 100 miles southeast of Nassau, was conceived to provide an indigenous Caribbean island experience in an authentic natural setting to Holland America Line guests on Caribbean and Panama Canal itineraries. Amenities that were required to support ship visits included food and beverage facilities, shops, restrooms and other various support facilities. The island's offerings have steadily expanded to also provide a full beachside water park for children, private beach cabanas and an array of shore excursions that include horseback riding by land and sea, personal watercraft adventures and an opportunity to swim with stingrays.

Although only two percent of Half Moon Cay has been developed (50 out of 2,400 acres), Holland America has successfully fulfilled its goal of maintaining and enhancing the island's natural beauty. Much of the island is a migratory bird reserve and, according to Bahamas National Trust surveys, since Half Moon Cay's inauguration its water fowl population has significantly increased due to habitat enhancement. The necessary support structures were designed to be compatible with the island's topography and existing flora; plantings were selected to compliment existing subtropical foliage. Half Moon Cay has created nearly 100 full-time, year-round jobs for Bahamian craftsmen and workers from nearby islands. The island generates more than $5.5 million in local purchases and wages annually. To date, $23 million in taxes has been generated for the Bahamas government. 

Surveys of Holland America Line guests consistently reveal that the Half Moon Cay call is cited as the highest-rated port on the Caribbean itineraries, contributing to the line's endeavor to provide the ultimate premium cruise experience. For more information on Half Moon Cay, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-800-522-3399 or visit

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NCL and Bermuda Announce Long-Term Agreement

HAMILTON, BERMUDA, Nov 7 – Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and the Bermuda Government announced today that they have reached a comprehensive, long-term agreement that calls for two of NCL’s newest and largest ships to be deployed to Bermuda for the next 10 years, commencing 2009 and running through 2018. These ships will predominantly depart from New York and Boston and will each sail at least 22 cruises per season, making extended calls in Bermuda. The combined itineraries of the two vessels will provide for overnights in Bermuda from Sunday through Friday. The agreement also calls for NCL to continue through the 10-year term its tradition of being the exclusive line to sail from Boston to Bermuda.

“Since NCL first began sailing to Bermuda, it has been one of our most popular itineraries, and we have developed a truly unique relationship with the community and government of our host destination,” said Colin Veitch, NCL’s president and CEO. “Over the past 15 years, we have deployed ships from more US homeports to meet the growing demand from US travelers to visit Bermuda. Our new 10-year agreement with Bermuda confirms NCL’s position as the leader in Bermuda cruising, plus we now have a solid basis on which to commit two of our fleet of brand new purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships long term – a significant upgrade from our perspective and from Bermuda’s.”

In 2009, Norwegian Spirit, with a double occupancy capacity of 2,000 guests, will sail from Boston to Bermuda, departing on Fridays, calling in Bermuda from Sunday through Wednesday. Norwegian Dawn, with a guest capacity of more than 2,200, will sail from New York on Sundays, calling in Bermuda from Wednesday through Friday. Also in 2009, Norwegian Majesty (the ship which has served NCL’s Boston-Bermuda business for 15 years) will sail to St. George’s, Bermuda from Charleston, Philadelphia and Baltimore. 

As part of the agreement, NCL will partner with Bermuda’s Department of Tourism and Chamber of Commerce to contribute to the Bermuda experience. This includes becoming one of the sponsors for the annual Bermuda Music Festival, supporting the St. George’s Foundation and the Bermudian Heritage Association, and developing a new program to continue encouraging cruise guests to dine in restaurants ashore.

This 10-year agreement follows NCL’s announcement In May 2007 of its largest deployment to Bermuda in the company’s history with its 2008 itineraries from five East Coast cities. The 2008 Bermuda itineraries include: Norwegian Dawn sailing from New York, featuring the city’s only seven-day cruise to Bermuda; Norwegian Dream replacing Norwegian Majesty sailing from Boston offering Boston’s only Bermuda cruise; and Norwegian Majesty sailing to Bermuda from three cities: Philadelphia, Baltimore and Charleston.

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Majestic America Line Unveils New Microsite Devoted to Life on the Mississippi River Aboard the Grand American Queen

SEATTLE, Nov. 7 -- Majestic America Line, one of the world's premier river cruise lines and the largest river and coastal cruising company in America, today unveiled a new microsite at that provides discerning guests with an intimate look at virtually every aspect of life on the Mississippi River aboard the grand American Queen, the world's largest riverboat. Guests will journey along with a host couple and experience a day aboard the ship, from breakfast in their well-appointed stateroom to custom shore tour adventures and evening entertainment, providing an authentic view of just how wonderful a cruise can be aboard the 436-guest American Queen.

"It's easy to see that the American Queen is a stunning ship. But we want to show guests what it really means to experience the Mississippi River aboard the American Queen," said Diane Moore, Executive Vice President, Majestic America Line. "The sound of the paddlewheel on the water, the incredible views, dining in the elegant J.M. White dining room -- these are all experiences that are unique to the American Queen and are what make stepping aboard her decks something truly special."

As guests arrive at the site they are welcomed to their "Mississippi River Journey" and introduced to the site through the narrator, a woman who is embarking on a voyage aboard the American Queen with her husband for their 50th wedding anniversary. Following a brief introduction, guests are prompted to select a category -- the ship, life onboard, fine dining, enrichment or destinations. Each category features a personal narration of the couple's day on the river and highlights the nuances and attention to detail that makes each pillar of extraordinary quality stand out. From there, guests can delve even deeper into the site to learn facts about the ship, the river, Majestic America Line and more.

Guests can choose from any of the American Queen's 44 seven-night sailings in 2008. After spending the Spring on the lower Mississippi River exploring the Cajun and Creole culture of New Orleans and picking up the rhythm of the Blues in Memphis, she'll head upriver for the summer. Between July and October the American Queen will provide guests with an upper Mississippi River experience between St. Paul and St. Louis before heading back down to New Orleans to round out 2008.

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Carnival Corp & plc's North American Brands to Implement Fuel Supplement

MIAMI, Nov. 7 -- As a result of the continued rapid escalation of fuel prices, the North American brands of Carnival Corp & plc have announced they will implement a fuel supplement of $5 per person per day. The fuel supplement, which only applies to the first and second guests in a stateroom and will not exceed $70 per person per voyage, is effective on all bookings for voyages departing on or after Feb. 1, 2008 on the following Carnival Corporation & plc brands: Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, and The Yachts of Seabourn.

According to Carnival Corp & plc Chairman and CEO Micky Arison, the recent spike in fuel prices has dramatically impacted the company's operating costs, thus necessitating the supplement. The price the company pays for fuel has increased 140 percent over the last three years, with a 50 percent increase occurring in just the last seven months. 

"Earlier this year, we implemented a supplement for our European brands. We had hoped to avoid a similar supplement for our North American brands but with the price of oil approaching $100 a barrel this is no longer possible. The implementation of the fuel supplement beginning February 1 for our North American brands will result in consumers paying approximately one-third of our year-over-year fuel cost increases over the first six months of the fiscal year," he said. Arison added that the company had been considering a supplement for some time but held off as long as it could. "We are hopeful fuel prices will someday return to a level that will enable us to eliminate this supplement. Until then, we believe that guests sailing on our North American brands will understand the dilemma that soaring fuel prices has caused for our company and industry and that a fuel supplement was needed to enable us to continue offering the high quality cruises our guests have come to expect," Arison explained.

The fuel supplement of $5 per person per day will be applied to all new and existing bookings for cruises on or after February 1, 2008. For existing reservations, travel agents will receive $10 per booking in administrative compensation for notifying their clients of the new fuel supplement and collecting the additional funds. Carnival Corp & plc brands will provide additional information on the fuel supplement via their respective Web sites, as well as through various marketing and collateral materials.

Carnival Corp & plc is the largest cruise vacation group in the world, with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe and Australia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Iberocruceros, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia. Together, these brands operate 84 ships totaling 156,000 lower berths with 21 new ships scheduled to enter service between December 2007 and June 2012. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates Holland America Tours and Princess Tours, the leading tour companies in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon.

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Princess Cruises to Debut New Rewards Visa Credit Card

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Nov 6 - Princess Cruises and Barclays today announced the Princess Rewards Visa Signature card, a new co-branded credit card and rewards program that offers passengers the opportunity to earn free cruises, onboard credits, and discounts toward their cruise fares, air travel or special amenities. Applications for the no-annual-fee card will be accepted starting December 10, 2007 at 

"Our passengers have been asking for this type of credit card option from Princess, so we're very excited to offer them one with a rewards program that features the most cruise-related redemption options of any card in our industry," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service. "And we've added a number of features I'm sure many will appreciate, such as no capacity controls or blackout date restrictions on rewards." Swartz emphasized that another important feature will be the cardholder's ability to still use their favorite travel agent to book reward travel.

The Princess Rewards Visa Signature card introduces the "Princess Points" program, in which card holders will earn two points for every dollar spent on Princess purchases, whether for cruise fare or onboard expenditures, and one point for each dollar on all other purchases. Rewards start at just 2,000 points, and include a variety of choices, including:

  • Free Cruises - beginning at 150,000 points, with no blackout dates or capacity limits. 

  • Cruise Discounts - card holders can redeem points for discounts ranging from $100 to $2,000 off Princess cruise fares

  • Air Travel Discounts - valid on any air travel, card holders can receive a credit when they book any flight

  • Special Occasion Packages - passengers can celebrate an anniversary, honeymoon, vow renewal or any special occasion with a choice of free packages, ranging from a Champagne Balcony Breakfast to a Grand Occasion Package

  • Cruise Merchandise - card holders can choose to receive onboard gifts such as Lotus Spa credits, a bottle of champagne, a bouquet from the onboard florist and many other options

  • Onboard Credits - passengers can reward themselves with onboard credits to be used for any onboard purchases, whether a romantic dinner at Sabatini's, an adventurous shore excursion or the ultimate souvenir from the onboard boutiques

The Princess Rewards Visa Signature card is offered at a low introductory APR and features up to 10,000 bonus points after the first qualifying transaction, including 5,000 points for signing up and up to 5,000 more points for balance transfers within the first 30 days. Princess Captain's Circle members are also eligible for an additional 5,000 bonus points when they use the card to book a cruise by January 31, 2008. Further information about the Princess Rewards Visa card is available at Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Cunardia, the First Permanent Cunard Museum at Sea, Tells the Story of the Company's Trio of 20th Century Queens

VALENCIA, CA, Nov 6 -- Heart-felt anecdotes and historic artifacts related to Cunard Line's three 20th century Queens are captured in Cunardia, the museum exhibit that is poised to become one of Queen Victoria's most captivating features. Scheduled to launch this December, Queen Victoria is the first Cunard ship to carry a fully curated exhibit of Cunard memorabilia, artifacts and vintage souvenirs including Queen Mary's log book and her historic Zig Zag clock - the vital timekeeping device that prevented World War II U-Boat attacks against the famed liner.

Masterfully created by the Open Agency, the same team of researchers and designers responsible for several other popular Cunard exhibits and publications, Cunardia tells the story of Queen Mary (1936), Queen Elizabeth (1940) and Queen Elizabeth 2 (1969). Through five engaging storylines, the exhibit explores:

  • Creating a Queen, showcasing the histories of the iconic ocean liners

  • A Queen's Day, tracing a "typical day" at sea from the perspective of both passenger and crew member

  • Queens at War, featuring the role of the Queens as troop carriers during World War II and the Falklands War in 1982

  • Queens Do Not Race, an in-depth history of the Atlantic Blue Riband highlighted by a life-size replica of the famed Hales Trophy

  • Inspired by a Queen, detailing the Queens' far-reaching impact on many aspects of creativity

Harnessing Cunard's rich image archive and the latest audio-visual technology and contemporary display design, the exhibit immerses guests in the Line's unparalleled history. In addition, retired Commodore Ronald Warwick, former Master of Queen Mary 2 and QE2, will serve as Honorary Curator of the Cunard Queens exhibit. Warwick, an avid Cunard historian, was a natural choice, not only due to his own place in the Cunard family, but also because his father, Captain William E. Warwick, captained Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth and QE2. Interestingly, Commodore Warwick has traced the history of all Cunard captains and he and his father are the only father-and-son captains in the Line's 168-year history.

"The excitement surrounding this exhibit is unprecedented," says Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line. "Anecdotes, artifacts and memorabilia continue to pour in - a stirring testament to Cunard's singular place in the hearts of maritime enthusiasts around the world." To tap this interest, the Open Agency conducted extensive research within Cunard's own archives and issued public appeals to past guests, crew and renowned Cunard collectors in both the United States and Great Britain. According to Martyn Routledge of the Open Agency, "the timing is ideal as most guests and crew of Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth are now in their 80's or older and are extremely proud of their Cunard experience and eager to share their memories."

Among the most significant pieces to be exhibited are:

  • A copy of the Hales Trophy awarded to the winner of the Atlantic Blue Riband. Although Queen Mary broke the speed record in 1936 and held it unchallenged from 1938-1952, Cunard Line refused to accept the award on the grounds that the Line still followed Samuel Cunard's mandate to his captains in 1840 to put safety before speed at all times.

  • A zig-zag clock from Queen Mary during her wartime service. The clock was kept on the Bridge to alert navigators as to when to change direction during the operation known as zig-zagging. Regularly changing course was a tactic designed to confuse U-boats. Hitler had put a price on the ship as a target and as a trophy of war.

Other exhibits include a section of Queen Mary's deck rail carved with the initials of some GIs who contributed to her unbroken record of carrying the largest number of people on a ship; the first log book of Queen Mary (handwritten by Sir Edgar Britten, Captain during her maiden voyage); collections of never-before-published images illustrating the celebrity hey- day of Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth; detailed ship models and souvenirs; artifacts and stories related to the "Cunard Yanks," the young crew who brought back the latest New York fashions in clothing and music to post-war Britain.

While focusing on Cunard's 20th century history, Cunardia also gives a nod to the present with exhibit references to Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, including the cork from the bottle of prosecco that was broken over Queen Victoria's bow by Maureen Ryan as the ship met open water for the first time. With its typical flair for tradition and ceremony, Cunard chose Ryan, the only known person to have served on four Queens, to serve as the ship's godmother during Queen Victoria's float-out celebration. Similarly, in December, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall will perform the naming of the ship, joining a long line of royals who have launched a Cunard liner.

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Holland America Line's ms Eurodam to be Named in Rotterdam in July 2008 

SEATTLE, Nov. 6 -- Holland America Line will hold the official naming ceremony for it's first Signature-class ship, ms Eurodam, July 1, 2008, in Rotterdam, the city where the 135-year-old Dutch company was founded. Naming ceremonies will be held near the company's original headquarters, which now operates as the Hotel New York. Numerous events and activities are being planned to showcase the vessel to key stakeholders, including past guests, travel agents, former employees, local dignitaries, media and others. The ship arrives Jun. 29 to begin four days of celebrations and departs Jul. 2 for a three-day prelude cruise with its first guests.

"We are planning a very special celebration in our founding city," said Stein Kruse, president and chief executive officer, Holland America Line. "For us, it's a homecoming and we expect tens of thousands Holland America Line supporters to be on hand as we proudly welcome Eurodam into service."

In the days leading up to the naming, the Eurodam will sail from Venice, Italy, to Southampton, England, before arriving in Rotterdam. In both cities, events will be held to showcase the ship, first with Fincantieri Shipyard and Holland America Line celebrating the ship's completion in Venice. In Southampton, travel agents, past guests, media and local dignitaries will visit the ship during luncheons, overnights, and receptions to honor the new vessel. A day after the naming ceremonies, the Eurodam will embark on a prelude cruise and maiden voyage. The three-day prelude cruise departs July 2 from Rotterdam sailing to Copenhagen, Denmark, and calling at Hamburg, Germany. Kruse is scheduled to sail aboard the prelude cruise. Guests booked on the prelude cruise will have an opportunity to attend the naming ceremonies as a pre-cruise excursion.

The 10-day round-trip maiden voyage departs from Copenhagen, Denmark, July 5 and calls at Oslo, Alesund, Vik, Flam and Stavanger, Norway; Newcastle Upon Tyne, England; and Edinburgh (via South Queensbury) -- the premium line's second highest rated port of call -- and Invergordon, Scotland. Newcastle -- a maiden call for Holland America Line -- offers 2,000 years of history and a picturesque backdrop with its location on the left bank of the River Tyne. The two cruises can be combined into a 13-day voyage.

Eurodam Expands Premium Offerings
With one more deck than Holland America Line's 10-deck Vista-class ships, the Signature-class Eurodam will feature three alternative dining venues, including a new pan-Asian restaurant with panoramic views. The Explorations Cafe--powered by The New York Times--will be located on deck 11 on the starboard side of the Crow's Nest. Other additions are an Explorer's Lounge Bar, a new specialty restaurant adjacent to the Lido offering fine Italian food, new atrium bar area, and an enhanced and reconfigured show lounge with theater-style seating.

Following its inaugural Europe season, the ship will sail its first trans-Atlantic cruise, followed by a series of Canada/New England sailings in the fall before deploying on Caribbean itineraries for the remainder of 2008. For more information, consult a travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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Cruise West Offers Winter Escape to Baja Mexico on Upgraded Ship

SEATTLE, WA, Nov 6 – Cruise West, the leading small-ship cruise line, is offering guests the chance to stave off winter chills with distinctive itineraries to Mexico’s Sea of Cortés. Guests this winter will be the first to sail on the upgraded, 138-guest Spirit of Yorktown, which will include four new balcony category cabins, renovations to corridors, lobby areas and the lounge, and a new collection of artwork. As with all Cruise West itineraries, cruises to the Sea of Cortés focus on providing up-close and personal experiences with the environment and cultures of the destination. 

Experts on Board
Steinbeck was inspired by this remarkable area to write the book, The Log from the Sea of Cortez. On January 5 and 12, 2008 departures, guests will sail in the company of renowned John Steinbeck scholar Dr. Susan Shillinglaw and Marine Biologist Bill Gilly. Shillinglaw, a Professor at San Jose State University and a Scholar-in-Residence at the National Steinbeck Center and Gilly will share the essence of Steinbeck’s journeys in the region through topical presentations. Gilly has retraced the legendary journey made by Steinbeck and biologist Ed Ricketts in 1940 and has lead a research program on the Sea of Cortés since 2001 that is focused on the ecology of the Humboldt squid. The January 12 sailing also includes a special post-cruise philanthropic event at La Paz Children’s School for a painting party January 18-20. This event is offered through Cruise West’s philanthropy program, “Our Bear Cares.”

Photography buffs will enjoy the January 19, 2008 departure. Through an exclusive partnership, PENTAX sponsored professional photographer Kerrick James will be on hand to coach guests on all aspects of photography and help them test drive PENTAX camera gear. Visit and for more information.

All Sea of Cortés cruises are eight days, round trip from Cabo San Lucas and include the picturesque seaside village and mission town Loreto and Isla Espiritú Santo, home to several plant and animal species only found on this island. Active guests will enjoy kayaking, snorkeling and nature walks at the serene islands Los Islotes & Isla Partida. Guests may also add-on a spectacular four-night Copper Canyon post-cruise land tour. For additional information or to book a Cruise West cruise, call 1-800-296-8307 or visit

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The Yachts of Seabourn Orders Third New Ultra Luxury Ship

MIAMI, Nov. 5 -- A year after The Yachts of Seabourn announced that it would build two new, ultra luxury ships, advance booking activity for the first, Seabourn Odyssey, has led to the line's decision to exercise the option for another. The third sister ship will be built by T. Mariotti S.p.A. of Genoa, Italy for delivery in summer, 2011. Seabourn, a division of Miami-based Carnival Corp & plc, has agreed to the project at an all in cost of approximately Euros 200 million. Seabourn Odyssey will debut in June of 2009. Bookings for its maiden season are being accepted from the general public starting today, after a successful advance booking period reserved for past guests of the line. The second ship in the series is scheduled to enter service in the summer of 2010.

"Our decision to order a third new ship is based partly on the enthusiasm we have already seen for our new ship design," explained Seabourn's president & CEO, Pamela Conover. "That enthusiasm, combined with research indicating a continuing robust expansion in demand for ultra luxury cruising in general, convinces us that we have the right formula at the right time," she continued.

That formula is embodied in the new, 32,000-GRT ships, which will accommodate just 450 guests in 225 luxury suites, ninety percent of which will offer private verandas. The ships are specifically designed to achieve a balance between Seabourn's small-ship signatures, such as its highly personalized service, truly fine dining and exceptional delivery of destinations, with the added spaciousness, features and amenities that a larger ship will allow. Seabourn's guests will continue to enjoy an unmatched level of personalized service from a skilled and dedicated staff, and one of the highest space-per-guest ratios in the industry. The new ships will maintain the yacht-like onboard ambience that has won the loyalty of affluent travelers, who appreciate all-inclusive policies such as complimentary open bars, open-seating dining and a myriad of thoughtful touches the company calls its Signature Delights.

According to Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc, "This new trio of beautiful, yacht-like ships will maintain Seabourn's role as the leader in the ultra luxury segment, and position the company to satisfy the growing demand among affluent travelers for more ultra luxury cruising options."

The design specifications call for hulls 650 feet long, with a beam of 84 feet and a draft of 21 feet. The ships will be powered by diesel-generated electricity and operate with twin screw propellers, with a service speed of 19 knots. They will be equipped with two bow thrusters to enhance maneuverability and two stabilizers. The ships will also be "green ships" employing advanced wastewater treatment technology. For information on Seabourn cruise vacations, contact a travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit Seabourn's award-winning website at

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 2009 World Cruise Itineraries Feature Enlightening “Adventures Ashore”

FORT LAUDERDALE, Nov 5 –Regent Seven Seas Cruises has unveiled an expanded program of destination-intensive “Adventures Ashore” in conjunction with its two World Cruises in 2009. These exciting land packages, which are separate from Regent’s core shore excursions, provide guests with unprecedented opportunities to broaden their knowledge of the exotic regions on Regent’s World Cruise itineraries. Regent made history earlier this year by becoming the first luxury cruise operator to announce two global cruises in the same year.

Regent’s “Concierge Collection” of Adventures Ashore range in length from 12 hours to four nights and encompass a broad range of once-in-a-lifetime activities. Participants can tour Chile’s volcanoes amongst Magellanic penguins on a “Grand Patagonia Overland” journey, or enjoy an exclusive Imperial dinner prepared by Chairman Mao’s chef in China’s Forbidden City as part of the “Beijing and The Great Wall” package. These and other enlightening Adventures Ashore tours are available in conjunction with Regent’s two World Cruises for 2009, with per person, double occupancy rates ranging from $310 to $5,450.

Regent’s “Grand Circumnavigation” aboard 700-guest, all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Voyager® departs January 12 from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale, calling at ports in Australia, New Zealand, China, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey through May 2009. Regent’s 2009 “Ring of Fire” journey aboard 700-guest, all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Mariner® departs January 26 from Fort Lauderdale to call at ports in Argentina, Chile, Australia, Singapore, China, Japan, Alaska and Canada through May 2009. 

“Our 2009 “Concierge Collection” Adventures Ashore offer our guests incredible opportunities to extend their exploration of intriguing destinations and cultural capitals on every continent,” said Darius Mehta, Director of Land Programs. These eye-opening programs provide Regent guests with more opportunities to enjoy memorable travel experiences by venturing inland and off the beaten track.”

Adventures Ashore aboard Seven Seas Voyager’s 2009 Grand Circumnavigation cruise include:

  • “Romantic Escape at Moorea Pearl” (January 22 to 23) - Guests enjoy an intimate journey to Moorea, one of the most idyllic Polynesian islands considered the inspiration for James Michener’s novel Bali Hai. Guests can enjoy an intimate dinner for two and spend the night in an above-water bungalow at the distinctive Pearl Resort. 

  • Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat & Indian Pacific Train (February 17 to 21) – Explore Australia in a unique new way during tours of Adelaide and Kangaroo Island, followed by a scenic journey by rail to Perth. Along the way, guests will cross the Nullarbor Plain, visit the Gold Rush town of Kalgoorie and observe the continent’s diverse natural beauty. Upon arrival in Perth, guests will take a tour of the twin cities, Perth and Fremantle, before being transferred to the ship. 

  • “Imperial to Colonial and Mai Chau’s Hill Tribes” (March 13 to 16) - This eye-opening look into the history, culture, architecture and people of Vietnam features an insider’s tour of the intricate maze of markets—and ancient legends of the lake—in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. 

  • “Delhi, Agra, Jaipur” (March 23 to 26) - Guests explore the palaces, temples, forts and monuments linking contemporary India with past rulers, empires and dynasties. The program features four days of exploration in India, including visits to the Buddhist temples of Colombo, Jaipur’s Pink City, Lutyen’s Delhi and the Taj Mahal at both sunset and sunrise.

Adventures Ashore aboard Seven Seas Mariner’s 2009 Ring of Fire cruise include:

  • “Darwin, Bamurru Safari Camp and Kakadu” (March 30 to April 3) – Australia’s colorful past and rugged natural beauty is on display during this scenic sojourn through the Northern Territory. The tour begins with a flight to Darwin, where guests will visit the Botanical Garden, Museum of the Arts & Natural Sciences and other historic sites of the city. Guests will then fly to Bathurst Island, one of the Tiwi Islands, to meet the Tiwi People, and delve into their centuries-old culture and history. The next day, guests will proceed to Swim Creek Station for a two-night stay at Bamurru Plains Safari Camp. During the stay, guests can participate in a wide range of activities, and explore the thriving ecosystem, pristine coastal floodplains and wetlands abundant with diverse bird, reptile and wildlife species. The tour concludes with a cruise on the lovely Yellow Waters Lagoon at Kakadu National Park, a World Heritage site, followed by a chartered flight featuring spectacular views over the park en route to Darwin and the ship.

  • “Special Access Terracotta Warriors and Li River Cruise” (April 24 to 27) - This thrilling excursion features exclusive access to a second level of Xian, China’s spectacular Terra Cotta Warriors, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a heavily restricted archeological discovery.

  • “Panda Encounter – A Day at the Panda Research Base” (April 29 to May 1) - Here, travelers can share a hug—and a memorable photo op—with a giant panda at the Giant Panda Breeding Research base in Chengdu City, the capital of China’s SW Sichuan province.

  • “Nara, Kyoto and Traditional Japanese Inn” (May 6 to 7) – Japan’s distinct culture, history and traditions are on display as guests journey to the historic cities of Nara and Kyoto. In Nara, guests will visit the 8th century Todaiji Temple, Hall of the Great Buddha and Kasuga Taisha Shrine. Travelers will also have the rare opportunity to experience the customs and traditions of daily Japanese life through an overnight stay in a traditional Japanese hotel, or roykan.

All segments of the Regent’s 2009 World Cruises are now open for sale. Further details on these programs can be found on Regent’s website,

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Costa Mediterranea to Sail South America for 2008/09 Season

MIAMI, FL, Nov 1 – Costa, Europe’s Number One Cruise Line, will send the beautiful, 86,000-ton Costa Mediterranea to South America for the 2008/2009 winter cruise season. The ship will feature 44 new, exclusive spa accommodations. In addition, the Costa Magica and Costa Marina will also sail the region on routes throughout Brazil and Argentina. The Costa Mediterranea will sail routes to Argentina and will feature a new, innovative spa program. Guests who book one of 44 exclusive accommodations will enjoy privileges including a personalized wellness consultation, three complimentary treatments, two fitness or meditation classes and complimentary access to the Wellness Restaurant, offering a wide array of spa-friendly cuisine. Spa cabins, available in ocean view, veranda and suite categories, will feature aromatherapy diffusers, special shower and air filters, and a mini bar stocked with healthy food and beverage selections. In addition, guests with these accommodations will be offered priority spa reservation times. The Costa Mediterranea, which has been operating since 2003, features décor inspired by 17th and 18th century Italian noble palazzos. It has a double occupancy capacity of 2,114. 

The 105,000-ton Costa Magica will return to the region on itineraries out of Brazil with weekly routes to Bahia and cruises throughout the Southeastern coast while the intimate, 25,600-ton Costa Marina will sail routes out of Buenos Aires. The Costa Magica entered into service in 2004 and features an interior design that pays homage to the most beautiful and “magical” Italian places as well as the largest dance floor at sea. It has a double occupancy capacity of 2,720. The Costa Marina entered service in 1990 and was refurbished in 2002. It features wide windows, skylights and flawless glass atriums that reflect her contemporary design and has an intimate double occupancy capacity of 776.

Costa, Europe’s Number One Cruise Line, is the leading Italian cruise company and for 60 years has offered the best in Italian hospitality, cuisine and entertainment on cruises throughout the world. In 2007, 1,000,000 guests chose a Costa cruise, a true historical record in Europe. For reservations or more information, contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA or visit

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 2008 Food & Wine Circles of Interest Voyage Highlight Outstanding Global Cuisine

FORT LAUDERDALE, Nov 1 – Regent Seven Seas Cruises has scheduled nine Circles of Interest enrichment programs focusing on food and wine for 2008. Circles of Interest feature exclusive onboard and shore-side experiences delivered by world-class lecturers, instructors and authorities from the realms of art, cuisine, history, environmental conservation, photography and wellness. Regent’s food and wine Circles of Interest will be offered aboard select winter, spring, summer and fall voyages of the 700-guest, all-suite, all-balcony ships Seven Seas Mariner® and Seven Seas Voyager® and the 490-guest, all-suite Seven Seas Navigator®. Accomplished chefs from the legendary French culinary institute Le Cordon Bleu will host "Classes Culinaires des Croiseres” programs on seven departures between January 16 and September 18. Walter Scheib, White House executive chef from 1994 to 2005, will share “Presidential Secrets under the Mediterranean Sun” during a cruise to Greece, Italy and Turkey departing June 6. Finally, Cindy Pawlcyn, chef and owner of Napa Valley hot spots Mustards Grill and Cindy’s Backyard, will host a “Mediterranean Food Odyssey” departing June 21.

Regent’s food and wine Circles of Interest provide rare opportunities to explore the culinary cultures of diverse regions. World-class chefs share unique insights into their cooking techniques, and also host cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, shore-side trips to local markets and informative discussion on the unique cuisines of the regions visited.

“Regent’s 2008 culinary Circles of Interest offer another outstanding example of our ability to provide guests with enriching experiences through personal discovery,” said Sophie Vlessing, RSSC’s vice president, customer strategy and marketing. “These enlightening journeys provide rare perspective from international experts, plus the added enjoyment of a core group of travelers sharing similar interests. RSSC’s food and wine-themed Circles of Interest will deliver truly memorable experiences throughout 2008.”

Regent’s 2008 schedule of food and wine Circles of Interest cruises includes

  • Le Cordon Bleu “Classes Culinaires des Croiseres” – Launched in Paris in 1895, Le Cordon Bleu has been dedicated to preserving and passing on the mastery and appreciation of the culinary arts. Together with Regent, the school created "Classes Culinaires des Croiseres” - programs of no more than 20 guests combined with shore-side market visits. Regent and Le Cordon Bleu have also partnered to offer Signatures, the first and only permanent Le Cordon Bleu restaurants at sea, aboard Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Voyager. Dates include: January 16 (Callao to Buenos Aires, Seven Seas Mariner); April 7 (roundtrip Fort Lauderdale, Seven Seas Mariner); April 30 (Fort Lauderdale to Horta, Azores, Seven Seas Voyager); May 27 (Vancouver, B.C. to Seward, Alaska, Seven Seas Mariner); June 9 (Monte Carlo to Dover, Seven Seas Voyager); September 9 (Southampton to Monte Carlo, Seven Seas Voyager) and September 18 (Seward, Alaska to Osaka, Seven Seas Mariner).

  • “Presidential Culinary Secrets under the Mediterranean Sun” featuring Walter Scheib – Chef Scheib served America’s first families for 11 years, conducting hundreds of state dinners. His tenure was highlighted by the creation of a distinctly American culinary repertoire at the White House. Chef Scheib will be joined by co-host Alan Tardi, former chef, current wine writer and winner of the 2007 James Beard Foundation Award for his book Romancing the Vine. Onboard activities include “Kitchen Table Chats” which demonstrate how Chef Scheib makes favorite presidential midnight snacks and popular items from state dinners. Chef Scheib will also host an exclusive luncheon at the Michelin-starred Torre del Saracino restaurant in Vico Equense. Departure date: June 7 (Piraeus, Greece to Monte Carlo, Seven Seas Navigator).

  • “Mediterranean Food Odyssey” featuring Cindy Pawlcyn – Chef Pawlcyn studied at Le Cordon Bleu and opened Mustards Grill after moving to California’s Napa Valley in 1980. Today she also operates Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen in Napa Valley. Pawlcyn has been inducted into Who’s Who in Cooking in America and is currently working on her third cookbook. Chef Pawlcyn’s co-host is wine authority Lyn Farmer, senior editor of The Wine News magazine and executive director of the Miami Wine and Food Festival. Onboard activities include a cooking demonstration of Mediterranean cuisine and a tasting of Italian and Corsican cheeses. Chef Pawlcyn will also host an exclusive dinner with Chef Vedet Basaran at his Feriye restaurant in Istanbul. Departure date: June 21 (Civitavecchia, Italy to Istanbul, Seven Seas Navigator). 

Regent’s 2008 food and wine Circles of Interest programs are available at rates ranging from $255 to $450 per person, exclusive of cruise fare. Further details on these programs can be found on Regent’s website

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Holland America Line's Investment in Signature of Excellence Surpasses $425 Million

SEATTLE, Nov. 1 -- Since announcing its $225 million Signature of Excellence program in November 2003, Holland America Line has invested another $200 million to enhance its ships, expand activities and introduce more amenities to its brand. When ms Prinsendam leaves dry dock Dec. 16 with remodeled staterooms and a new Explorations Cafe, the premium line will have committed more than $425 million fleetwide. Signature of Excellence features are evident in every aspect of the Holland America Line cruise experience, providing guests more luxurious accommodations, more enticing destinations, enhanced dining experiences, a greater variety of activities, and higher levels of personalized service.

"Signature of Excellence began as a ground-breaking initiative within the cruise industry," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "At Holland America it has since evolved into our brand promise and our company's commitment to continually invest in our product."

By December, the Holland America Line fleet will have logged more than 350 days in dry dock receiving enhancements ranging from the simple--loading of new plush pillows--to the structural--adding 34 new staterooms to the aft superstructure of the early Vista-class ships. Workers will have put in more than 10 million hours on the ships. The premium line began major changes to its first three Vista-class ships last April when ms Westerdam added 34 staterooms, a Pinnacle Bar, new shops, and an Explorations Cafe in the Crow's Nest. Similar additions will be completed on ms Zuiderdam in May 2008 and on ms Oosterdam in May 2009. The fourth Vista ship, ms Noordam, was delivered with all Signature of Excellence enhancements in place. At year's end, Prinsendam will complete a scheduled dry dock to refurbish staterooms, expand the shopping promenade, replace carpeting and flooring, and add an Explorations Cafe and new meeting spaces.

Notable elements of Signature of Excellence include the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine--a state-of-the-art onboard show kitchen where guest chefs and culinary experts provide cooking demonstrations and classes--Explorations Cafe powered by The New York Times and teens-only activity areas. Across the fleet, standard stateroom amenities now include flat-panel television sets, make-up mirrors, stainless-steel ice bucket and tray, high-thread-count linens, large fluffy cotton towels, deluxe bathrobes and plush Euro-top Mariner's Dream Beds.

Shipboard program changes include an expanded Exploration Speaker series, unique Medallion and Collection shore excursions, i-Pod art tours of all ships, new wine packages, early embarkation program, flexible As You Wish dining, expanded Pinnacle Grill menu, exclusive flatware, china and stemware in all restaurants, and a broad expansion of the Greenhouse Spa and Salon facilities and treatments.

On Half Moon Cay, the line's award-winning private Bahamian island, new shore activities were added, including a stingray adventure, horseback riding, family-friendly aqua park, and personal watercraft course. Holland America Line also created the Private Oasis at Half Moon Cay, a private bungalow extending over the water, where guests can enjoy exclusive butler service, gourmet meals, full bar service, hot tub and massage services.

Holland America Line's fleet of 13 ships offers nearly 500 cruises to 314 ports of call in 97 countries, territories or dependencies. Two-to 108-day itineraries visit all seven continents, including Antarctica, South America, Australia/New Zealand and Asia voyages; a Grand World Voyage; and popular sailings to ports in the Caribbean, Alaska, Mexico, Canada/New England, Europe and Panama Canal. For more information, contact a travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit

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NCL Increases Calls to the Bahamas

MIAMI, Nov 1 – Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced today that it will return to Grand Bahama Island beginning next month and is increasing calls to The Bahamas, adding a total of 32 cruises between 2007 and 2009. Twenty-eight of these calls will be made by NCL’s new “It” Girl, Norwegian Gem, which entered service on October 1, 2007. Norwegian Jewel will make the first stop in Grand Bahama, along with a stop in Nassau, during a three-day Bahamas Getaway cruise on November 15, 2007, sailing roundtrip from Miami.

“This deployment reaffirms NCL’s long standing commitment to its relationship with The Bahamas which began some forty years ago. NCL was the first of the major cruise lines to call at The Bahamas and was the first in the industry to own and include a private island experience in our itineraries, at Great Stirrup Cay in the Berry Islands,” said Andy Stuart, NCL’s executive vice president of marketing, sales and passenger services. “We also have a long history of pioneering the development of new cruise destinations and we are pleased to be a part of establishing Grand Bahama Island as a major cruise destination.”

  • Norwegian Gem, carrying approximately 2,400 passengers, will sail seven-day Bahamas and Florida itineraries roundtrip from New York in December 2007, February, March, April and December 2008, with stops in both Grand Bahama Island and Nassau, along with NCL’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay and Port Canaveral, Florida. In 2009, the ship will sail the same itinerary from January through April.

  • Norwegian Jade, a Jewel-class ship built specifically for Freestyle Cruising, has three scheduled seven-day Bahamas and Florida sailings roundtrip from New York on December 14, 21 and 28, 2008 with stops in Grand Bahama Island, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, along with Port Canaveral.

NCL decided to return to Grand Bahama Island after being invited by the Ministry of Tourism to experience all the island had to offer. NCL’s development team toured the area for the new cruise port facility, visited with the dolphins at UNEXSO, enjoyed a rugged Safari Jeep Tour exploring the nature trails of Grand Bahama and took an air boat tour through the mangroves. NCL estimates that these calls will contribute approximately $9 million directly to the economy of the Bahamas, with $4 million going directly to Grand Bahama Island. 

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Costa to Give Diamonds Away on Each Caribbean Sailing in 2007-08 Season

MIAMI, Nov. 1 -- In celebration of its 60th year of cruising in 2008, Costa is giving one lucky guest a beautiful six-stone diamond necklace from Diamonds International on every sailing departing from Ft. Lauderdale during its 2007-2008 Caribbean season. Each week, a winner will be randomly selected and presented with a necklace from the Captain on the last night of the cruise during the popular "Roman Bacchanal" festivities.

During this "Diamond Anniversary" celebration, a diamond necklace winner will be selected each week from both the Costa Fortuna and Costa Mediterranea between November 2007 and April 2008. Each necklace was created by Diamonds International exclusively for Costa and features six diamonds set in white gold that cascade in graduating circles and total a half carat in size. Necklaces are valued at $1,000. Winners will be selected randomly by cabin number and must be present at the "Roman Bacchanal" party to win.

"Our guests tell us just how memorable our cruises are for the special brand of magic we create of bringing the love, laughter and la dolce vita of Italy to life on our ships-and for two lucky guests each week, that experience will become even more memorable," said Lynn C. Torrent, President & CEO of Costa Cruise Lines-North America. "The excitement on the ships this season is sure to be more incredible than ever as the week builds up to the final evening of the cruise when guests discover whether they've won a new diamond necklace."

Costa's unique and authentic onboard Italian flair provides guests with a feeling of "Italy in the tropics" on its Caribbean routes. For many, sailing Costa offers a "new" way of experiencing the Caribbean ports of call they know and love - bringing to mind the romance and warmth of Italy without having to cross the Atlantic. From homemade pastas and delectable desserts, to Italian greetings including "buon giorno" in the morning and "buona sera" in the evening, the "amore" of the old world stays with guests long after they disembark from their cruise. Festive onboard activities include everything from on-deck bocce ball games, tarantella dancing under the stars and Italian cooking lessons during "Festa Italiana," to the famous "Roman Bacchanal" soiree, where guests don tasteful togas and celebrate as the Romans did centuries ago!

Inspired by grand Italian liners of the past, the 105,000-ton Costa Fortuna will sail the Eastern, Western and Southeastern Caribbean for the first time in the 2007-2008 Caribbean season. Inaugurated in 2003, this sister ship to the Costa Magica has a double occupancy capacity of 2,720, with many staterooms featuring ocean views and balconies. With design features inspired by the lavish palazzos of Italy, the 86,000-ton Costa Mediterranea will sail new Saturday-Saturday itineraries in the 2007-2008 Caribbean season. Also inaugurated in 2003, this ship has a double occupancy capacity of 2,114 and features numerous staterooms with ocean views and balconies.

Costa, Europe's Number One Cruise Line, is the leading Italian cruise company and for 60 years has offered the best in Italian hospitality, cuisine and entertainment on cruises throughout the world. In 2007, 1,000,000 guests chose a Costa cruise, a true historical record in Europe. The fleet's 12 ships all fly the Italian flag and offer 250 different destinations throughout the year in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Caribbean, South America, Dubai, the Far East, and the Indian Ocean. Orders have been placed for three additional vessels that will enter service by 2010. For reservations or more information, contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA or visit

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Dream Cuisine to Whet Your Appetite

SeaDream Yacht Club has created and published a cookbook--a logical step for a company whose cuisine has been honored with awards and accolades from authoritative publications--and highly praised by guests. Led by Executive Chef d’ Cuisine, Robert van Rijsbergen, the cookbook Dream Cuisine, presents the culinary magic of the corps of chefs d’ cuisine aboard the twin yachts SeaDream I and II. Chef van Rijsenbergen has described SeaDream’s dining experience as “a subtle combination of classic French culinary techniques, sophisticated international offerings and a mingling of Asian influences.”

Dream Cuisine, with the subtitle An Adventure for the Senses, describes the total SeaDream dining experience that includes not only the cuisine itself, but the impeccable service and the fine linen tablecloths and napkins of 100 percent Italian cotton woven in Belgium. Flatware was designed and crafted in Norway. The china comes from Porsgrund and crystal from Hadeland Glasswerk, both of Norway and owned by SeaDream Yacht Club’s Owner Atle Brynestad.

The splendid cookbook presents SeaDream’s cuisine a la minute whereby each dish is made with the freshest ingredients--frequently found in the markets of ports-of-call--and then prepared to order. The book proceeds with inviting color photographs (principal photographer was Florida-based Michel Verdure), descriptive accounts of menu items and recipes. Designed for four servings, Dream Cuisine moves from what SeaDream calls “Welcome Aboard hors d’ oeuvres, luncheon, dinner through appetizers, main courses and desserts and a unique spa menu. Vegetarian choices are detailed as well.

Special sections of the book present SeaDream Signature Dishes, a Menu Degustation, a section describing the SeaDream wine cellar at sea with rare Old World and New World offerings, a special bar menu featuring unusual beverages and SeaDream’s noted and playful Champagne & Caviar Splash™. There are more than 90 recipes in the collection. To illustrate the diversity of the recipe offerings here are some of SeaDream’s Signature Dishes included in the book: 

  • Gratinated Escargot--Served with aubergine caviar and mushrooms. 

  • Thai-Style Chili Garlic Quail--Served with Basmati rice and coriander. 

  • Salad of Marinated Monkfish--With spinach and tomato salad. 

  • Terrine of Foie Gras--With fig compote, truffle dressing and brioche. 

  • Sautéed “Gariguette” Strawberries--With candied black olives and olive oil ice cream. 

There is also SeaDream’s Menu Degustation--inspirational menu created by SeaDream chefs:

  • L’Oeuf Poule au Caviar “Surprise”--A spectacular first course with caviar served in an egg shell.

  • Crabmeat Salad with Lobster Medallions and Orange Dressing--Orange essence, Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar and lime-flavored olive oil comprise the dressing. 

  • Cream of Pumpkin Soup--Garnished with roasted pumpkin seeds a bit of lobster and a dollop of whipped cream.

  • Champagne Sorbet--A wonderful transition, this sorbet is enhanced by a drop or two of Kirschwasser. 

  • Pan-Fried Fillet of Brill--Served with truffled risotto, the brill is garnished with beetroot chips. 

  • Honey and Five Spice Roast Saddle of Veal--A sumptuous offering served with caramelized Belgian endive. 

  • Yoghurt and Mint “Shot”--To clear the palette, this bit of yoghurt and mint is served in a shot glass. 

  • Lemon Soufflé--what a way to end a fine meal, served in its own individual ramekin. 

Dream Cuisine was introduced in a special book-launch during a recent SeaDream Club Members’ voyage between Valletta and Naples, by company President, CEO and Co-Owner Larry Pimentel. “We have received so many wonderful compliments from our guests about their dining experiences with us that it just made perfect sense for us to publish this Dream Cuisine cookbook. It was a labor of love and I hope it not only reminds our guests of one of the great joys of sailing with us, but also sends them into their home kitchens to try some of these recipes,” Pimentel said.

SeaDream Owner Atle Brynestad added, “As a family owned and operated company, we strive to provide each guest with a memorable yachting holiday experience. We welcome all guests as if we were welcoming them into our own home, which in a way, we are.” 

The Dream Cuisine cookbook is available for sale through the Boutique section of SeaDream’s website at for $30 per copy, plus shipping, and in the onboard Boutiques on SeaDream I and II.

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MSC Cruises’ Newest Ship MSC Orchestra to Join MSC Lirica for 2008-09 Caribbean Season

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Nov 1 – MSC Cruises will be bringing two state-of-the-art ships, including one of its newest, to Fort Lauderdale for an exciting 2008-09 Caribbean season that features seven itineraries, 16 enchanting ports and the line’s first call in Bermuda. Guests can select itineraries that feature the tropical Deep Caribbean, the wonders of the Western Caribbean, the jewels of the Eastern Caribbean, the exotic Caribbean featuring Panama, the pink sand beaches of Bermuda as well as transatlantic voyages between Fort Lauderdale and some of Europe’s most intriguing ports of call. Most of the itineraries include visits to Cayo Levantado, the line’s private paradise experience in the Dominican Republic.

MSC Lirica, which has sailed Caribbean waters for several seasons, will be joined by MSC Cruises’ newest ship MSC Orchestra, which debuted in 2007 and will be sailing her inaugural Caribbean season. At 92,400 gross tons, 196 feet high and 961 feet long, with 16 decks (13 of which are passenger decks), MSC Orchestra is the largest member of the line’s fleet to sail the Caribbean. It can carry 2,550 passengers (double occupancy) in 1,275 staterooms (80% outside staterooms, most with a private balcony). 

“MSC Orchestra is ideally suited for the preferences of our American and Canadian guests,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA). “It is an elegant ship that epitomizes the line’s ‘Beautiful. Passionate. Italian.’ approach to cruising.” 

With more than 236,800 square feet of public areas and 5 restaurants (L’Ibiscus, Villa Borghese, La Piazzetta, Four Seasons, the Shanghai Chinese Restaurant – the only dedicated Chinese restaurant at sea), 10 bars (two of which are open air), 3 meeting and conference rooms, a 21-foot by 12-foot outdoor LED screen, and the 16,146 square feet for the Body and Mind Spa, MSC Orchestra represents the perfect combination of grace and style. 

MSC Orchestra will arrive in Fort Lauderdale Jan. 2, 2009. The following day she will begin sailing alternating 7-night roundtrip itineraries through April 18, 2009: 

  • Eastern Caribbean, calling at Cayo Levantado, Dominican Republic; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. John’s, Antigua; and Nassau, Bahamas, as well as two days at sea. 

  • Western Caribbean, calling at Key West, Florida; Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Cayo Levantado, Dominican Republic, and two days at sea. 

  • A special 7-night roundtrip Bermuda sailing departs Fort Lauderdale April 25, 2009 and includes three days in King’s Wharf, Bermuda and a day in Nassau, Bahamas, as well as two sea days. 

MSC Orchestra is scheduled to depart Fort Lauderdale May 2, 2009 on an 18-night voyage that will include a two-day visit to New York before heading eastbound to Copenhagen. The itinerary includes calls at Ponta Delgado, Azores; Lisbon, Portugal; Vigo, Spain; La Coruna, Spain; and Dover, England before arriving in Copenhagen on May 20, 2009.

MSC Lirica will arrive in Fort Lauderdale Dec. 3, 2008 to begin a Caribbean season that includes the following itineraries: 

  • 10-night Deep Caribbean, calling at San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Port Castries, St. Lucia; St. John’s, Antigua; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Cayo Levantado, as well as three days at sea. 

  • 10-night Caribbean featuring Panama, calling at Costa Maya, Mexico; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Cristobal, Panama; Cartagena, Colombia; and Cayo Levantado, and four days at sea; 

  • 7-night Western Caribbean, calling at Key West, Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Cayo Levantado and two sea days. One of the Western Caribbean sailings is the New Year’s cruise.

  • 7-night Eastern Caribbean, calling at Cayo Levantado, Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Nassau, Bahamas, and two days at sea. This is the line’s Christmas cruise. 

MSC Lirica begins its eastbound transatlantic crossing on April 23, 2009. The 16-night cruise calls at San Juan, Puerto Rico; Fort de France, Martinique; Funchal, Portugal; Lisbon, Portugal; Vigo, Spain and Le Havre, France, before arriving in Dover, England on May 9, 2009. 

In addition to early booking rates that offer savings of more than 50 percent off the regular rate (cruise only, USD, per person, double occupancy, government fees and taxes additional) and special group rates, children ages 17 and younger cruise free (government fees and taxes are additional) on all sailings when they accompany two full-fare-paying adults in a stateroom. For more information about MSC Cruises, visit a local travel professional or

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Costa Unveils New Training Facility in Manila

MIAMI, FL – Costa, Europe’s Number One Cruise Line, opened a new hotel employee training facility in Manila on Monday in collaboration with the Magsaysay Institute of Hospitality and Culinary Arts (MIHCA). The inauguration ceremony was attended by Pier Luigi Foschi, Chairman & CEO of Costa Crociere S.p.A.; Alessandro Centrone, Vice President of Corporate Human Resources, Doris Magsaysay Ho, President and CEO of MIHCA; as well as local authorities including the Mayor of Manila, Alfredo Lim and the Italian Ambassador to the Philippines, Fedele Rubens. 

The new school is part of the Magsaysay Institute of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, one of the most prestigious hotel training academies in the Asia-Pacific region and is dedicated to the education of Costa's shipboard personnel employed in the restaurant, housekeeping, galley and bar areas. Costa plans to provide tuition at MIHCA for nearly 1,600 new hires a year, including 600 young college-level graduates from hotel training schools in the Philippines. It will be the first of Costa's eight training institutes worldwide to offer a new type of educational program for recruits, called “Ready for Excellence,” which is designed to equip trainees with the essential skills they need to deliver the best in customer service. The courses in the program use facilities that provide hands-on experience in the workplace environment. For example, MIHCA's laboratories include a fully functional cruise ship cabin from the Costa Serena, as well as simulated restaurants, galleys and bars. Courses last an average of four weeks each and are taught by Costa’s own professionals as well as by MIHCA instructors working exclusively for Costa. In 2008, the new Manila training facility will also provide courses for personnel already employed onboard Costa ships as part of their career development and to ensure that they receive continual professional training. 

“Employee training is one of those factors that make the difference for any company, especially one such as ours in the hospitality industry,” said Foschi. “Our fleet expansion program, which currently has five new ships due to enter service by 2012, needs to be adequately supported by training activity in line with our core values of service excellence and passion for our guests, both of which have enabled us to retain our position of leadership in Italy and across Europe for the past 60 years.”  

MIHCA opened in February 2006. It is a state-of-the-art hospitality training center whose curriculum was developed in collaboration with the acclaimed Johnson & Wales University, a leading hospitality university in the United States, in order to prepare individuals for fulfilling careers in the world's top hotels, restaurants and cruise lines. MIHCA presently works with Costa, Princess Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Shangri-La Hotels, Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Pan Pacific Manila and Diamond Hotels. About 80% of its courses, which have a maximum of 25 students each, are devoted to practical training, with the remaining 20% dealing with theories and principles. MIHCA is part of the Magsaysay group, a leading human-resource company in the Asia-Pacific region which was established almost 60 years ago in the Philippines. 

In 2006 Costa doubled its training commitment compared to the previous fiscal year, with a total investment of 4 million Euros. The ongoing activities embrace a wide range of initiatives that Costa devises and delivers in order to ensure constant excellence in the preparation of its shipboard and shoreside personnel (a total of approximately 15,000 employees). These activities are overseen by two departments: Corporate Training, which was set up in 2001 to supervise the technical and managerial training of personnel, and the Costa Preparatory Campus, which facilitates the recruitment and training of shipboard hotel employees (with about 3,000 new hires each year). 

Costa currently has eight training schools located around the world. Seven out of eight are dedicated entirely to the training of shipboard personnel and are run directly by the Italian company or as joint ventures with leading local universities. Six of them train hotel personnel – one in the Philippines, three in Indonesia (including one which will soon open), one in India and one in Brazil – accounting for approximately 80% of the shipboard employees, while another training institute in the Philippines is devoted to deck and engine crewmembers. In addition to these seven schools, Costa also has its own Training Center, located near the company's headquarters in Genoa, which is used to teach technical and managerial skills to all of Costa's shoreside and shipboard employees. 

Costa, Europe and South America’s Number One Cruise Line, is the leading Italian cruise company and for 60 years has offered the best in Italian hospitality, cuisine and entertainment on cruises throughout the world. In 2007, 1,000,000 guests chose a Costa cruise, a true historical record in Europe. The fleet’s 12 ships all fly the Italian flag and offer 250 different destinations throughout the year in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Caribbean, South America, Dubai, the Far East, and the Indian Ocean. Orders have been placed for three additional vessels that will enter service by 2010. For reservations or more information, contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA or visit

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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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