Cruise Planner & Industry News from Cruise Diva
Discover the world of cruise travel

Make the most of your cruise vacation with
 information from

~ Site Map & Search
~ Cruise Lines
~ Articles & Advice
~ Cruise News
~ Planning Tips
~ Packing & Lists
~ Ports of Call

~ Cruise Reviews

~ HOT Tips Archive
~ About CruiseDiva
~ Cruise Links
~ Cruise Diary
~ CruiseDiva Home

Insure My Trip
Use the automated quote form & compare plans

CLICK HERE for savings--CruiseCompete

Bon Voyage gifts delivered worldwide by Well Wishers

Get cruise gear & more
The Cruise Shop

 Cruising by the Book ~ Top Picks in 
Cruise Guidebooks

The favorite of serious cruise travelers:
Cruise Travel Magazine
Cruise Travel

Have a question or a review to submit?

Copyright © 1995-2003 
Linda Coffman

News from the world of cruise travel ~
December 1-10, 2003

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

Important Travel Safety Information letter from Jack Williams, President and Chief Operating Officer, Royal Caribbean International

Back to Cruise News Weekly Index & Archive

Princess to Offer Unprecedented Number of Dining Options on Diamond & Sapphire Princess
Four Main Dining Rooms Will Feature Different Themes and Menu Items
New Princess Concierge Service Combines Dedicated Staff with Computer
Technology for Easy Dining Reservations

Expanding the concept of personal choice dining even further, Princess Cruises will introduce its largest number of dining options ever with an innovative twist -- themed main dining rooms aboard Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess. Both ships, which debut next spring, will offer guests five main dining rooms - one traditional seating dining room and four smaller restaurants for those choosing Princess' Anytime Dining option. These four dining rooms will each feature a unique theme and menu - Vivaldi (Italian cuisine), Sterling (steakhouse), Santa Fe (Southwestern) and Pacific Moon (Asian).

Diners in these four dining rooms will have the option of ordering from each restaurant's themed dishes in addition to Princess' renowned dinner cuisine. Guests who choose the traditional dining room won't be left out of the culinary fun either, as they will have a changing array of dinner options including items from the themed restaurants specialty menus.

"With Diamond and Sapphire Princess we're taking dining options to a brand new level," said Dean Brown, Princess' executive vice president of customer service and sales. "We're committed to offering our passengers a new array of choices in an unconventional fashion, so we've divided two of our regular dining rooms in half, creating four restaurants that seat just 230 passengers and one traditional room that holds about 500 passengers.

"The new smaller venues will operate just as our Anytime Dining rooms always have, but with more choices and themed décor," noted Brown. "And this concept brings us a further step away from the vast dining halls found on many other lines' ships of similar size, continuing to set our dining program apart."

The new specialty dining rooms will offer an array of tastes to tempt passenger taste buds. Each will offer a series of dishes including a specialty bread and dessert. In the Vivaldi dining room, which specializes in Italian fare, diners can enjoy dishes such as Farfalle alla Scoglio, Ossobuco or Cannoli for dessert. In the Sterling dining room menu items include Prime Rib, New York Steak and All American Apple Pie. The Pacific Moon dining room will feature a variety of Asian favorites including Sushi, Five-Spice Mandarin Duckling, and bamboo steamer baskets with Dim Sum, Pot Stickers and Spring Rolls. In the Santa Fe dining room, guests can choose table side prepared Guacamole, Sizzling Fajitas, Fried Catfish with Roasted Corn Relish and Kahlua Rice Pudding.

These new choices will be featured along with Princess' signature dining experience - Trattoria Sabatini, the line's enormously popular alternative Italian restaurant which offers a special eight-course menu for a nominal charge of $20. Passengers can also choose the 24-hour Horizon Court restaurant as well as a variety of other options for snacks and quick poolside meals.

Passengers can make reservations for any of the ship's dining rooms and Sabatini's through the new Princess Concierge Service, which also debuts on Diamond Princess. Staffed by dedicated onboard concierge representatives using a new computerized reservation system, this new level of service will enable passengers to easily plan their dining choices through a special telephone number or in person at each dining venue. "Princess Concierge Service will make it easier than ever for passengers who wish to plan when and where to dine -- whether for one night or the full cruise," added Brown. "And presuming passengers respond to the system positively, we expect to expand the service to other vessels and other types of onboard reservations, such as spa appointments."

The new dining room configuration is another innovation in Princess' acclaimed Personal Choice Dining® program, designed to give passengers the ultimate in choice - and the only program to offer both traditional and restaurant-style seating options in its main dining rooms.  Princess' long history of culinary innovation includes pioneering the concept of 24-hour dining at sea and debuting a number of new alternative restaurant concepts. In recent years, the line has introduced a popular premium steakhouse option, sea-going sushi bar, the first Southwestern and Cajun-style restaurants at sea, and was the first line to have all its ships inducted into the prestigious Chaîne des Rôtisseurs gastronomic society.

Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess are currently being built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) in Japan. The two 113,000-ton, 2,670-passenger vessels will debut in March and June 2004, respectively. Diamond Princess' inaugural cruises will take in the delights of the Mexican Riviera before repositioning to Seattle for the summer Alaska season. Sapphire Princess will join her sister ship in Seattle offering seven-day round-trip Inside Passage cruises.

Back to the top of the news list

Holidays Aboard Disney Cruise Line Mean 'Walking In A Magical Wonderland' At Private Bahamian Island

CASTAWAY CAY, Bahamas, Dec. 8 -- "It's a balmy 73 degrees with snow flurries continuing to fall throughout the day," announced the ship's cruise director as the Disney Magic docked at Castaway Cay in the Bahamas. Just in time for the holiday season, Disney Cruise Line guests are finding themselves literally "walking in a winter wonderland" -- or shall we say Magical Wonderland -- a new themed decor package that has transformed Disney's sandy private island into a "snowy" holiday hideaway.

In addition to "snow" flurries, guests enjoy seeing Christmas trees, Mr. and Mrs. Snowman (with shell noses and tropical shirts), carolers and a sleigh full of presents in the middle of the Bahamas. Disney characters, dressed in holiday island styles, sign autographs and pose for photos to the beat of holiday tunes. Even the island's tram that transports guests across the 1,000-acre island has been decorated to resemble a reindeer, complete with antlers and tail.

At the beach, families learn the art of sand sculpting. Guests may even catch a glimpse of Goofy on a jet ski as he tries his hand at water sports in the lagoon. Scuttle's Cove, the children's programming area at Castaway Cay, hosts holiday-themed children's activities all day long. Children, ages 3-7, make candy cane reindeer and paper plate angels while kids, ages 8-12, create snowflake-mobiles and clothespin reindeer. Whether lounging on a sun-drenched beach, participating in a variety of water sports or indulging in the ultimate island barbecue, Castaway Cay offers an authentic tropical experience -- now with a touch of the holidays -- that every member of the family can enjoy.

Onboard, Disney's Magical Holidays celebration continues:

  • A nearly three-deck-tall tree-lighting ceremony in the atrium lobby, where "snow" magically falls
  • A Christmas Day visit from Santa Goofy, with surprises for all the kids
  • Special family time, when families join together to design and decorate their own gingerbread houses
  • Our own Disney Cruise Line rendition of "T'was the Night Before Christmas" with a reading by Mrs. Claus and caroling by the main stage performers
  • Traditional holiday feasts in Disney's three themed dining rooms
  • Multiple faith and inter-denominational holiday services
  • A ship-wide party to ring in 2004 and a New Year's Day tailgate party

Rates for Magical Holiday sailings through Jan. 1, 2004, start at $409 (three-night cruises) and $829 (seven-night sailings); four-night cruises are also available. To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a Disney Cruise Line vacation, guests can contact their travel agent, visit or call Disney Cruise Line at (888) DCL-2500.

Back to the top of the news list

CLIA Fleet Continues to Grow, With 12 New Ships Bringing New Amenities, Programs In 2004

NEW YORK, Dec. 8 -- Twelve exciting new cruise ships serving the North American vacation market will debut in 2004, according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). The new entries to the CLIA fleet include the largest ocean liner ever built, the first new American flag cruise ship in 50 years and a bevy of floating resorts, each with its own unique style and personality. While many of the new ships are large resort-style ships--five are more than 100,000 tons--they join a fleet that prides itself on diversity, from small, intimate vessels to megaships and a range of experiences to suit every vacation style.

"The vessels being introduced in 2004 demonstrate that the cruise industry continues to grow with innovative new ships that set standards not just for cruising but for all vacation travel," says Bob Sharak, CLIA's executive director. "The new ships complement those already in the fleet, giving travelers even more choices when it comes to their cruise vacation."

The following cruise lines have ships slated to enter the CLIA fleet in 2004:

  • Carnival Cruise Lines introduces the 2,124-guest Carnival Miracle in February and the 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor in December. Carnival Miracle boasts indoor and outdoor promenades, upscale supper club and a large number of balconied staterooms. The 110,000-ton Carnival Valor has 22 bars, three restaurants, four swimming pools, a 214-foot-long water slide and a 14,500-square-foot spa.
  • Costa Cruises' new 105,000-ton Costa Magica enters the fleet in November.
  • The 2,720-guest vessel has 458 staterooms with verandas, 11 bars, four restaurants, a theater extending over three decks, and three swimming pools.
  • Cunard Line's new flagship Queen Mary 2 debuts in January as the largest, longest, and tallest liner ever built. The 2,620-guest vessel sails transatlantic voyages between Southampton and New York and has grand duplex living spaces with private elevators, butlers and staff as well as a Canyon Ranch SpaClub(R), a Todd English restaurant, and an Oxford University enrichment series.
  • Holland America Line's 1,848-passenger Westerdam debuts in April. The ship features a large number of verandah cabins.
  • MSC Italian Cruises' 1,760-guest Opera enters the fleet in April. The 60,000-ton vessel, with its 14 decks and six elevators, is the sister ship to the Lirica, which entered service in 2003.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line's NCL America brand introduces the first new ocean-going passenger ship in nearly 50 years to sail under the American Flag in July. The 2,146-passenger Pride of America sails seven-night inter-island Hawaii cruises, and boasts eight dining venues, more than 660 balcony staterooms, state-of-the art entertainment lounges, three pools, and the largest dedicated meeting facilities at sea.
  • Oceania Cruises' second ship, the 30,200-ton, 684-passenger Insignia, debuts in April.
  • Princess Cruises adds three ships. The 113,000-ton, 2,670-passenger sister-ships Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess debut in March and June, respectively. The main dining rooms are themed to focus on Italian, Asian, and Southwestern cuisine as well as a steakhouse. The line's largest ship, the 116,000-ton, 3,100-guest Caribbean Princess, debuts in April. It features a poolside movie screen, as well as 900 cabins with balconies.
  • Royal Caribbean International's 2,100-passenger, 90,090-ton Jewel of the Seas debuts in April. In addition to the highest percentage of balcony staterooms in the line's fleet, the ship has a rock-climbing wall, coffee house featuring Seattle's Best Coffee, Italian restaurant and steakhouse, self-leveling pool tables, indoor Solarium, and expansive kids' facilities.

For more information on cruise vacations, visit CLIA's website at  

Back to the top of the news list

Carnival Enhances Group Amenities Program
New 'Fun Points' Program Provides Maximum Flexibility, Choice for Travel Agents 

MIAMI (12/08/03) - Carnival Cruise Lines has introduced a new points-based program enabling travel agents to create customized price and amenities packages for groups sailing aboard the "Fun Ships." The new program provides travel agents with a specified number of "Fun Points" per voyage, which can be redeemed for a wide variety of amenities - such as champagne and chocolates, stateroom upgrades, private cocktail receptions, and travel agent bonus commissions. For example, travel agents who book a group on the Carnival Conquest's seven-day Caribbean cruise of Nov. 7, 2004, from New Orleans receive six "Fun Points" which can be redeemed for various on-board amenities (champagne and chocolates require one point; a private cocktail reception is two points, a $25 per cabin onboard credit is one point, and stateroom upgrades require one to two points depending on the level of upgrade). Travel agents also have the option of forgoing their "Fun Points" in exchange for a reduced cruise rate for their clients. 

"We have historically offered amenities in conjunction with group bookings. However, our new 'Fun Points' program makes Carnival the only cruise line to offer travel agents and their clients such tremendous flexibility in tailoring the pricing and amenities to match each particular group's needs," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO.

"Fun Points" can change over the life of the sailing and vary according to voyage length and season. In order to be eligible for the group amenities program, group discounts, and tour conductor credits, travel agents must book a minimum of eight cabins on a particular voyage. The new "Fun Points" amenities program is available in conjunction with all "Fun Ship" cruises, which range from three to 16 days to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, the Panama Canal, Canada, New England and Bermuda. For additional information, contact Carnival's group department at 1-800-327-5782 or visit the line's travel agent Internet portal,

Back to the top of the news list

Holland America Awarded "Best Overall Cruise Value" for a Record 12th Year in a Row 

Seattle, December 4, 2003 - Holland America Line has earned an unprecedented distinction among the world's cruise lines with its 12th straight designation as "Best Overall Cruise Value" from the prestigious World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society (WOCLS). 

"To receive this prestigious recognition for a record 12 years in a row, even as our fleet as grown, speaks to the consistency of our product and the dedication of our 14,000 employees, both shipboard and shoreside," said David A. Giersdorf, executive vice president, marketing and sales. "This award, together with our Signature of Excellence initiative, is a reflection of our long tradition of excellence ensuring that our guests receive the best premium cruise experience at the best value." 

The announcement comes just days after the company launched its progressive Signature of Excellence initiative, a $225 million investment of unparalleled product and service enhancements for its fleet of five-star ships. Signature of Excellence sets a new standard in premium cruising and further strengthens Holland America's leadership position. WOCLS is a 23-year-old organization comprised of approximately 8,000 travel agents and experienced cruisers. The society reviews all cruise lines annually and has consistently determined Holland America's value to be without equal in terms of providing "more than is expected" to its passengers. "Given the tremendous investment Holland America consistently devotes to evolving its product, it is not at all surprising that they have again earned this annual award. In what continues to be an increasingly competitive industry, Holland America puts forth an extra effort to offer several features that other cruise lines believe are either not necessary or are too costly," said George Devol, editor of Ocean & Cruise News, a publication by WOCLS. "Holland America Line's guests receive extraordinary value for the money they spend." 

About Signature of Excellence 
As the premium cruise leader, Holland America Line is investing $225 million in the Signature of Excellence initiative to provide unparalleled product and service enhancements to its fleet of five-star ships. Signature of Excellence will build on Holland America Line's renowned tradition of excellence by significantly raising the standard in premium cruising. The comprehensive enhancements will focus on five areas central to the Holland America Line guest experience: spacious, elegant ships and accommodations; sophisticated five-star dining; gracious, unobtrusive service; extensive enrichment programs and activities; and compelling worldwide itineraries. These enhancements will include new dining concepts, state-of-the art health spas, unique cultural enrichment programs, on-board kids' centers and an aqua park at the company's private island, Half Moon Cay. Staterooms will be enhanced with details such as luxurious custom-designed Premium Plush Euro-Top mattresses and 100 percent Egyptian cotton bed linens. Enhancements, and in some cases construction build-outs, have been started and are expected to be completed by the end of 2005.
For more information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit 

Back to the top of the news list

Carnival Cruise Lines Offers Six Months to Pay Interest-Free for Vacation Purchases with CLEAR 
Provides CLEAR Cardholders a Way to Budget for Carnival 'Fun Ship' Vacations 

Miami, FL, - Carnival Cruise Lines is among an elite group of national merchants participating in CLEAR's Budgeting Plan, enabling consumers to extend payments for up to six months, interest-free when they book a Carnival "Fun Ship" vacation using CLEAR. CLEAR is a valuable voluntary benefit that allows employees of participating employers to make purchases from 33 million MasterCard acceptance locations worldwide and pay for them over two months interest-free, through payroll deduction. While all purchases made with CLEAR are paid for over at least two months, purchases from participating merchants, including Carnival Cruise Lines, are extended over six months, at 0% interest. For example, a seven-day cruise priced at $499 per person would be repaid through automatic payroll deductions of $38 each from the cardholder's next thirteen bi-weekly paychecks. Similar values are available on the line's short duration cruises, as well. 

With CLEAR, consumers are provided an easy and convenient way to pay for Carnival's "Fun Ship" cruise vacations, which offer a wide range of fine and casual dining venues, including complimentary 24-hour pizza, ice cream and stateroom service, as well as spacious accommodations, on-board duty-free shopping, full casino gambling, expansive spa and children's facilities, a full schedule of daytime activities and nighttime entertainment, and scenic ports of call. "Carnival is pleased to be a member of the E-Duction Budgeting Plan, which provides a convenient and affordable means for purchasing a 'Fun Ship' cruise vacation," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. "Although the cruise industry expects to carry a record number of passengers this year, it still captures just 3 percent of the leisure travel market, and this agreement provides Carnival an opportunity to market 'Fun Ship' vacations to thousands of potential guests," he added.  

Upon activating their cards, CLEAR cardholders will be able to receive e-mail alerts or messages with their pay stubs or statements, notifying them of upcoming offers on select Carnival cruises. And best of all, consumers can set sail aboard one of Carnival's 20 "Fun Ships" whenever they want, knowing that they have smartly budgeted the cost of the vacation over time. CLEAR is available to employees at progressive companies nationwide, including Fortune 500 and non-profit organizations. Individuals who wish to apply for CLEAR and take advantage of Carnival's Super Saver discount rates and extended financing on Carnival's "Fun Ships" should ask their employer to contact E-Duction at 1-877-663-3828 or CLEAR Cardholders may book their Carnival cruise vacation by contacting any travel agent, calling 1-800-CARNIVAL or visiting

Back to the top of the news list

Windstar's 2004 Caribbean Program: Two Luxurious Yachts to Sail from St. Thomas on Voyages "180 Degrees from Ordinary"
34 Cruises Call at 17 Different Ports

Seattle, WA, Dec  4, 2003 - With gleaming white sails unfurled, a staff eager to attend to every need and the tranquil, turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea beckoning, Windstar cruises announces its 2004 Caribbean schedule. The line that provides unsurpassed romance, adventure and casual shipboard ambience on unique sailing ships will offer 34 cruises in the Caribbean in 2004, with two of its yachts conducting six different itineraries from St. Thomas that call at 17 exotic ports. Thanks to the small size and maneuverability of Windstar's ships, the line can visit more out-of-the-way ports than most cruise lines, offering guests even more chances to go "180 degrees from ordinary."
"Touring the Caribbean Sea in a romantic luxury yacht with the sails unfurled and catching the wind is an unforgettable cruising experience," says Tom Russell, vice president of marketing and sales for Windstar Cruises. "We invite our guests to sample the best ports in the islands, walk on pristine beaches, enjoy the best in water sports and relax in the comfort of our exquisite service." 

New for this year, all cruises for 2004 will be roundtrip from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  During the January-March sailing season, the 148-passenger Wind Spirit and 308-passenger Wind Surf will conduct 26 seven-day voyages that offer the best of the Caribbean, from romantic outposts and secluded beaches to fun-filled ports that are alive with music, food and entertainment. Guests sailing in 2004 will benefit from a recent multi-million dollar investment in the Windstar fleet. In November and December 2003, msy Wind Surf and msy Wind Spirit received extensive improvements to public spaces, soft goods, pool and deck areas and more.  Enhancements range from new flat screen TV's and DVD players in staterooms to new fabrics, décor and window treatments throughout the ship.

The Wind Spirit's 7-day itineraries depart on Saturdays from St. Thomas and spend a leisurely week touring the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and the French Antilles, with calls at St. John, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Tortola, Jost Van Dyke and Virgin Gorda, where the ship stays for an overnight visit that allows guests to sample island nightlife before returning to St. Thomas.  Fares start at $1,567 per person.
The Wind Surf's 7-day schedules from St. Thomas depart on Sundays and head to the enchanting islands of Iles des Saintes, Nevis, St. Barthelemy, Isla Culebra and St. John before returning to St. Thomas with a treasure chest of Caribbean memories and images.  Fares start at $1,395 per person.

All cruises feature Windstar's unique selection of active and leisure entertainment, including water sports platforms that are lowered into the water from the ships' sterns, inviting guests to swim, paddle, sail, water ski, wind surf and snorkel.  Water sports coordinators direct guests to the best snorkeling spots and ship hosts guide guests to the best places ashore for beachcombing, shopping or finding a great place to share a tropical cocktail. Windstar's casually elegant atmosphere allows guests to dine when and with whom they choose in The Restaurant. Windstar's "Signature Cuisine" created by celebrity chef Joachim Splichal offers fresh, innovative cuisine while drawing inspiration from the ship's current itinerary. Guests onboard the Wind Surf may also choose to dine in The Bistro, an intimate Splichal-inspired alternative-dining venue.
About Windstar Cruises
Seattle-based Windstar Cruises operates three sailing yachts known for their casually elegant atmosphere.  A high-percentage of return guests attests to the appeal of Windstar's casual ambiance of resort-style attire, innovative cuisine and wine selections, open restaurant-style seating, attentive service, exotic destinations and complimentary water sports. Carrying just 148 to 308 guests, the luxurious ships of Windstar cruise to nearly 50 nations, calling at more than 100 ports throughout Europe, the Caribbean and Tahiti.
Rates are quoted per person, double occupancy including non-discountable amounts and taxes. Windstar offers optional trip cancellation protection that provides cash back when you cancel for any reason prior to 24-hours before departure. For more information including brochures, rates and itineraries contact a professional travel agent or call Windstar at 1-800-258-7245. Visit  Windstar Cruises online at

Back to the top of the news list

Millionth cruise passenger feted in Jamaica

Jamaican Tourism Minister Aloun Assamba presents some of the gifts showered on Orest Olchowyj of Chicago, the one millionth visitor to the island.

Olchowyj and his wife Maria received gifts that included a weekend at a local resort as well as airline tickets. Johnny Faevelen, the captain of Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas looks on.

(Photo: Roger Robinson)

Back to the top of the news list

Royal Caribbean Cruises Announces Fourth Annual 
Best Environmental Innovation of the Year Award

MIAMI, Dec 3, 2003 -- Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today announced that its ship Adventure of the Seas has been selected for the company's fourth annual Best Environmental Innovation Of The Year Award. The annual award is designed to encourage Royal Caribbean International's and Celebrity Cruises' longstanding commitment to environmental innovation and improvement. Competition for the award assists the company in progressively advancing its environmental performance in manners that go above and beyond regulatory compliance. Judging for the awards was conducted by the independent external auditing firm of Haley and Aldrich, which audits all 18 Royal Caribbean International ships and nine Celebrity Cruises ships for adherence to the company's Environmental Compliance Plan.

"I congratulate the crew of Adventure of the Seas for their creativeness and desire to go above and beyond what is required of them," said Jack Williams, president and chief operating officer of Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises. "The Adventure of the Seas crew not only developed creative ways to conserve natural resources and minimize waste, but their efforts also benefit the ports of call they visit.  Their environmental stewardship sets an excellent example for all of our employees."

Each year, all Royal Caribbean and Celebrity ships are audited based on seven criteria established by the company and its independent external auditors.  The criteria evaluated includes audit findings related to environmental performance, timeliness and effectiveness of corrective actions, reports of near incidents and non-conformities, submission of monthly environmental status reports, and performance of pollution prevention equipment. The selection of the Best Environmental Innovation Of The Year Award is based on accomplishments that reflect innovative thinking in reducing environmental impacts and the seeking of creative solutions to environmental issues.

In winning the award, Adventure of the Seas' crew was cited for finding ways to reduce and compact waste to ensure the landing of items less frequently and in less volume.  They also created recycling programs that included clothes hangers, and the reuse of empty laundry soap and chlorine pails.  The crew also was lauded for forming partnerships with local charity and environmental organizations in the Caribbean islands.  For example, the ship works with a facility for disabled persons on the island of Antigua, by providing paint that would be disposed otherwise, and volunteers to apply it.  The ship's crew also volunteers to do hands-on restoration, construction, and long-term maintenance of important wetland habitat and breeding grounds for water birds and other wildlife in Fresh Pond and Little Bay Pond near Phillipsburg, St. Maarten.
"I salute all of our shipboard employees who have done so much to distinguished themselves as they seek higher environmental performance standards through innovation," said Capt. William Wright, senior vice president of Safety and Environment for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.  "All of their efforts are good for our company, but more importantly, they are good for our oceans."

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that operates Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, with a combined total of 27 ships in service and two under construction or on firm order.  The company also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Canada and Europe.  Additional information can be found on or

Back to the top of the news list

Actress Who "Grew Up" on "The Love Boat" to be Married On Board Caribbean Princess
"Captain Stubing's" TV Daughter, Jill Whelan, to Tie the Knot 
During Ship's Inaugural Festivities

In true "Love Boat" fashion, Princess will celebrate the launch of its largest vessel, Caribbean Princess, with a very special occasion--the wedding of "The Love Boat" TV star Jill Whelan to fiancé Michael Chaykowsky. Whelan, who for nine seasons played "Captain Stubing's" daughter, "Vicki," on the iconic television show, has invited her TV father Gavin MacLeod as well as other members of the "Love Boat" cast to be among the guests who will help celebrate her special day. The wedding will take place on April 2, prior to the ship's first Caribbean cruise from Ft. Lauderdale. As with many Princess weddings, the nuptials will also be broadcast by the ship's Bridge Cam so that friends, family and fans at home can follow the festivities on Princess' website,

"Because the Love Boat was such an important part of our company's early history, the show's cast members are in many ways part of the Princess family," said Dean Brown, Princess' executive vice president of customer service and sales. "We're delighted that Jill has chosen to share her happy day with us and to demonstrate just how integral romance is to our 'Love Boats' in the Caribbean." Whelan's special ceremony will be one of the more than 1,000 weddings that have taken place aboard Princess ships since 1998 when the line introduced the industry's only wedding at sea program where couples can be married by the captain. The most extensive wedding program offered by a cruise line, Princess' "Tie the Knot" program also features ceremonies aboard the ship in port and ashore in many of the ships' romantic ports of call.

After the ceremony the bride and groom will spend their honeymoon aboard Caribbean Princess' inaugural Western Caribbean voyage. "Some of the best memories I have came from being a part of that show," said Whelan, who was a member of the 'Love Boat' cast from the age of 11 to 19. "My job was as part of an ensemble of actors who dealt with the issues of romance week in and week out. It therefore seems rather fitting that I should return to a Love Boat for one of the most important and romantic points in my life."

Whelan will be inviting dozens of friends and family to join her for her special day, and they will all get a sneak preview of Caribbean Princess prior to the ship's maiden voyage. The new vessel, which at 116,000 tons will become the largest ship in the Princess fleet, has been specially designed for Caribbean cruising and features many special touches perfect for island cruising. Among the brand-new features, "Movies Under the Stars" will offer a splashy way for passengers to enjoy the latest movies as they relax on deck. Shown on a giant 300-square-foot, Times Square-style LED screen built into the vessel's superstructure above the mid-ship pool, broadcasts will also include special sports events and will be used for the Caribbean island night parties held during every cruise. Other features aboard the 3,100-passenger vessel include new Caribbean-themed dining options, plus Princess' trademark Italian trattoria, Princess' now-renowned Lotus Spa, four pools, three separate show lounges, an Internet café, and nearly 900 cabins with balconies, more than on any other cruise ship.

Caribbean Princess will begin her inaugural Caribbean season on April 3, 2004 with a Western Caribbean sailing featuring some of the area's most popular ports - Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios (or Montego Bay), Cozumel and Princess Cays, the line's private island in the Bahamas. Ports for the alternating Eastern Caribbean itinerary are St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Princess Cays. Both itineraries sail roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale.

One of the best-known names in North American cruising, Princess Cruises is a global cruise and tour company. Part of Carnival Corporation and plc, its current fleet of 11 ships sail on approximately 150 different itineraries around the globe, calling at more than 260 ports on all seven continents. By 2006 a further four ships will be introduced. Additional information is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

Back to the top of the news list

More Than 2.6 Million People Cruise in Third Quarter 2003, 
7.1 Million Total For First Nine Months, CLIA Reports

NEW YORK, Dec. 2 -- More than 2.6 million people cruised on Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) member line ships in the third quarter of 2003, including more than 2.1 million North Americans. The third-quarter figures reflect an 8.92 percent increase worldwide (5.49 percent North American passengers) over the same period last year and contribute to an 11.85 percent hike worldwide over figures for the first nine months of 2002.

"With nearly 7.2 million passengers worldwide (including more than 6 million North Americans) traveling on CLIA ships in the first three quarters of the year, the industry is on pace to reach our original estimate of 9.6 million passengers worldwide (8.3 million North Americans) for another record setting year," says Bob Sharak, CLIA's executive director. "It is thanks to the joint efforts of the industry and its professional travel agent partners that CLIA ships sailed at 103.2 percent occupancy during the first three quarters of 2003," Sharak adds.

"The numbers confirm that cruising continues to be the vacation of choice for millions of people. Growth of the industry in the past five years has been phenomenal. In fact, according to the 2002 CLIA Cruise Market Profile Study by NFO Plog, 56 percent of those who have ever cruised (more than 23 million people) have done so in the past five years," says Mark Conroy, CLIA chairman and president of Radisson Seven Seas Cruises. "But there's still plenty of room to grow, since only 15 percent of the total U.S. population is estimated to have ever taken a cruise."

The CLIA fleet represents approximately 97 percent of the cruise capacity marketed to North America. From 1980 through 2002, growth in cruise capacity has averaged 8.3 percent annually, keeping pace with demand and the 8.4 percent annual passenger growth the industry has experienced since 1980. For more information about cruise vacations, visit CLIA's website at

Back to the top of the news list

Jessica Lynch to Serve as Carnival Miracle Godmother

MIAMI (12/01/03) - Former Army private Jessica Lynch will fulfill the role of godmother to Carnival Cruise Lines' newest cruise ship, Carnival Miracle, at the official naming ceremony in Jacksonville, Fla., slated for Feb. 27, 2004. The occasion marks the first time a brand-new cruise ship will be introduced at the nation's newest cruise homeport. 

"We are privileged that Miss Lynch, who represents the thousands of courageous American men and women serving in our armed forces, has accepted our invitation to be godmother of our newest ship," said Carnival President & CEO Bob Dickinson. "And Jacksonville, with its long military and maritime history, is a perfect venue for this ceremony," he added. 

The retired Army private will break the traditional bottle of champagne across the bow of the newest Carnival "Fun Ship" at ceremonies immediately preceding Carnival Miracle's special three-day inaugural cruise from the Port of Jacksonville. "In appreciation for Miss Lynch serving as godmother of the Carnival Miracle, Carnival is pleased to make a significant contribution to the Jessica Lynch Foundation," Dickinson said. Jessica Lynch established the foundation to assist children of soldiers that have either served in the military or were killed while on duty. She also plans to use the foundation to benefit the Wirt County, West Virginia, community where she lives.

Carnival Miracle is slated to debut from Jacksonville Feb. 27, 2004, with a series of 12 three- to six-day voyages through April 17, 2004, marking the first time that Carnival has ever operated from that port. The ship will also operate seven-day departures from Baltimore and New York before repositioning to Tampa for year-round seven-day western Caribbean cruises from that port beginning Nov. 7, 2004. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Artists’ designs to be used for Pride of America and Pride of Aloha crew uniforms

Deidre Britt’s design will be used on cruise staff aboard Pride of America & Pride of Aloha.

LeRoy Na’ahulelua Makekau’s design will be used on hotel staff aboard Pride of America & Pride of Aloha.

Miami, Nov. 30, 2003 – At a press conference aboard Norwegian Star in Honolulu, NCL America announced two winners for its “Aloha” shirt design competition, launched in September. The designs of Deidre Britt and LeRoy Na’ahulelua Makekau Jr. both of Oahu were selected from over a dozen entries from University of Hawai’i art students. NCL America challenged the students to create distinctive design patterns for uniform shirts to be worn by crewmembers aboard NCL America’s Pride of America and Pride of Aloha, which will debut in Hawai’i in July and October of 2004, respectively.

"We are extremely proud of these wonderfully creative designs, which reflect Hawai’i’s natural beauty and attributes,” said Robert Kritzman, executive vice president and managing director for NCL America. “We are equally pleased that both designs were created by local artists, who together represent a small slice of the artistic talent in the Aloha state.”

NCL America selected the winning designs on the basis of their creative representations of the Hawai’i Islands and NCL’s Freestyle Cruising concept. The winning artists each received an award of $2,000 and a cruise for two aboard either the 2,146-passenger Pride of America or 2,002-passenger Pride of Aloha.

Britt, a resident of Hawai’i for more than 11 years, is a current graduate student at the University of Hawai’i’s Masters of Fine Arts degree program and co-owner of three Kona art galleries. Makekau, a native of Hawai’i, has a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts from the University of Hawai’i. Like Britt, he is a graduate student at the school’s Masters of Fine Arts program. Makekau has also spent several years as a sportswear designer in Oahu.

Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line is an industry innovator. The NCL America brand, under which the company’s U.S.-flagged ships will operate, is currently building Pride of America, which begins year round inter-island Hawaii cruises on July 4, 2004. Pride of Aloha, the re-flagged Norwegian Sky, will begin sailing year round inter-island cruises in October of 2004. NCL will also deploy two foreign flagged ships offering Hawai’i/Fanning Island itineraries – Norwegian Wind sailing year round and Norwegian Star sailing through April 2004. For further information on NCL or NCL America, please contact a travel agent or NCL in the U.S. and Canada at (800) 327-7030; in Miami-Dade County, Fla., (305) 436-0866; visit NCL’s web site at

Back to the top of the news list


Miami -- NCL America has created a collection of “Cruise & Stay” packages for Pride of Aloha guests sailing on three- and four-day inter-island cruises in Hawai’i beginning Oct. 1, 2004. The Cruise & Stay packages combine Pride of Aloha voyages with hotel stays, car rentals, transfers, gratuities and other amenities to form exotic land/sea vacations ranging from seven to nine nights. Pride of Aloha, currently sailing as Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Sky, will transfer to the NCL America US-flag brand next fall.

NCL America’s Cruise & Stay packages feature 3-, 4-, 5- and 6-night hotel stays at Honolulu’s Hilton Hawaiian Village, Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Sheraton Moana Surfrider plus Kona‘s Hilton Waikoloa Village and Maui’s Sheraton Maui. Each package also includes lei greetings, hotel taxes and bellman gratuities, admission to the historic Bishop Museum with a discount for the museum’s gift shop, and transportation between the hotel and the pier.

“We’ve made it easy for our guests to enjoy Hawai’i’s boundless natural beauty and exotic culture on land and sea,” said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL. “By partnering with several of Hawai’i’s most popular hotels, we’ve created a flexible variety of Cruise-And Stay packages that will allow our guests to experience virtually every aspect of this dream destination.”

Cruise & Stay guests receive a number of benefits including priority embarkation, express luggage delivery to the ship, and support through the hotel-based NCL Service Center at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort, where guests may check-in for their cruise, pre-book shore excursions and register for a variety of activities at their convenience. The Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort will offer a dedicated NCL television channel to provide information to guests about their cruise vacation.

NCL America Cruise & Stay packages will allow Pride of Aloha guests to customize their Hawai’i Vacation. The packages include:

  • The “Aloha Hawai’i Series”, featuring four-day cruises packaged with stays of three, four or five nights at Honolulu’s Hilton Hawaiian Village or the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort. Guests can select from six separate Aloha Hawai’i packages, including a three-night, pre-cruise hotel stay combined with a four-day cruise, a two-night, pre-cruise and a two-night, post-cruise hotel stay combined with a four-day cruise, or a three-night, pre-cruise hotel stay and a two-night, post-cruise hotel stay packaged with a four-day cruise. Prices begin from $999.
  • The “Explore Hawai’i Series”, featuring three-day cruises packaged with stays of four, five or six nights at the Hilton Hawaiian Village or the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort. Guests can choose from eight separate packages in this series, including a six-night, pre-cruise hotel stay with a three-day cruise; a three-day cruise combined with a five-night pre- or post- cruise hotel stay or a three-day cruise combined with a four-night post-cruise hotel stay. Prices begin from $999.
  • The “Discover Hawai’i Series”, featuring three- and four-day cruises packaged with hotel stays of three, five or six nights at Kona’s Hilton Waikoloa Village, Honolulu’s Hilton Hawaiian Village and Sheraton Moana or Maui’s Sheraton Maui. Guests can select from four packages including a three-night, pre-cruise hotel stay in Kona and a three-night, pre-cruise hotel stay in Honolulu combined with a three-day cruise; a three-night, pre-cruise hotel stay in Maui with a four-day cruise; a three-night, pre-cruise hotel stay in Maui combined with a four-day cruise and a two-night, post-cruise stay in Honolulu or a six-night pre-cruise hotel stay in Maui with a three-day cruise. Also included in the Discover Hawai’i packages is a complementary rental car while staying on the neighbor island and an inter-island flight between Honolulu and the applicable neighbor island. Prices begin from $1399.

In addition to the Cruise & Stay program, NCL America will shortly announce a series of CruiseTours, offering guests the opportunity to experience the wonders of Hawaii’s dramatic coastline, hospitable culture and spectacular beauty. For further information on NCL America, contact a travel agent or NCL in the U.S. and Canada at (800) 327-7030; in Miami-Dade County, Fla., (305) 436-0866; visit NCL’s web site at

Back to the top of the news list

NCL America to Host Gala Fundraiser Cruise in Hawai`i
Bishop Museum, Child and Family Service, Ready to Learn, The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement & the U.S.S. Missouri Memorial Will Benefit from Pride of America Inaugural Festivities

Miami, Nov 30, 2003 -- NCL America announced that it will hold an overnight fundraiser cruise on July 3, 2004 in Honolulu to benefit five Hawai`i-based charities. The cruise is part of the line’s inaugural festivities for its new U.S.-flagged ship, Pride of America. The new ship, which will be based year-round in Hawai`i, is the first new U.S.-flagged cruise ship in nearly 50 years. All ticket revenue from the gala cruise will benefit Bishop Museum, Child and Family Service, Ready to Learn, The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and the U.S.S. Missouri Memorial. NCL America will donate the use of the ship and all operational, food and beverage services and amenities for the sailing.

“NCL has a long history of contributing to the communities in which it does business and we are proud to assist these very worthy organizations in their charitable work,” said Robert Kritzman, executive vice president and managing director of NCL America. “We’ve established great relationships with the Hawai`i community and look forward to continue to contribute however we can.”

Guests will enjoy a full evening and morning of culinary delights with Pride of America’s eight different restaurants as well as a sail away cocktail party, live entertainment, a comedy show and a silent auction that will also raise money for the charities.

Prices for the overnight charity are per cabin and are:
Inside Cabins $300
Outside Cabins $500
Balcony Cabins $700
Family Suites $1,000
Penthouse Suites $1,250
Deluxe Penthouse Suites $1,500

For booking the cruise, interested participants should contact the charity they would like to support. Phone numbers for each charity are:
Bishop Museum - 808-848-4157
Child and Family Service - 808-543-8413
Ready to Learn - 808-585-7425
The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement - 808- 521-5011
U.S.S. Missouri Memorial - 808-454-1434

Beginning May 9 and continuing through July 4, 2004 Pride of America begins her historic journey home to Hawai’i with a series of U.S. coastal cruises visiting historic cities across America. The 2,156-passenger Pride of America will sail six cruises ranging from one overnight cruise to an 18-day voyage, with departures from Boston, New York, Miami, New Orleans, Los Angeles and San Francisco with stops in such cities as Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.; Newport, R.I.; Philadelphia, Norfolk, Va.; Charleston, S.C.; New Orleans; San Diego; Santa Barbara and Monterey, Calif.

The cruises precede the ship’s christening on July 4, 2004 in Honolulu, Hawai’i. Pride of America is the first U.S. Flagged ship in Norwegian Cruise Line’s NCL America brand, under which all of its U.S.-flag vessels will operate. Guests aboard Pride of America will enjoy a 100 percent U.S. crew, which will hail mainly from Hawai’i offering the gracious hospitality and service along with their sunny outlook on life, known in Hawai’i as “The Aloha Spirit.”

Pride of America will sail seven-day cruises calling on Hawai`i’s four main islands and a day of scenic cruising beginning July 4th, 2004. Her itinerary departs Sundays from Honolulu with ports of call at Nawiliwili, Kauai (overnight); Hilo and Kona, Hawai’i; and Kahului, Maui (overnight). The ship will be in port everyday and will offer scenic cruising on Tuesday afternoon and evening.

Five charities benefit from charity cruise
Hawai’i’s Bishop Museum is the premier natural and cultural history institution in the Pacific and is recognized throughout the world for its cultural collections, research projects, consulting services and public educational programs.

Child and Family Service is one of Hawai’i’s oldest and most effective private nonprofit organizations dedicated to services for poor and troubled families through the prevention of child abuse and neglect, alternative education for troubled youth, shelter for families in domestic violence, and care for the frail elderly statewide.

The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) seeks to promote the advancement of Native Hawaiians through empowerment and informational initiatives. CNHA helps other organizations deliver services to Native communities to assist them in achieving their goals. CNHA provides programs and services that promote collaboration, networking, information sharing, capacity building and partnerships among organizations.

The Battleship Missouri hosted the signing of the Terms of Surrender ending World War II and stands today as a symbol of national strength, individual sacrifice - and peace restored. The USS Missouri Memorial Association, a Hawai`i-based non-profit organization designated by the Navy as caretaker of this American Icon, is dedicated to creating and maintaining a fitting memorial, preserving into perpetuity her history and the lessons learned for future generations.

Ready to Learn is a non-profit, statewide organization that provides basic school supplies such as paper, pencils, and rulers to needy children (grades kindergarten through 12) throughout Hawai’i.

In 2001, NCL donated Norwegian Star to four Hawai’i charities for a one-night gala fundraising cruise. The company raised over $240,000 for Aloha United Way, Read To Me, Bishop Museum and Hawai’i International Film Festival. For further information on NCL America, contact a travel agent or NCL in the U.S. and Canada at (800) 327-7030; in Miami-Dade County, Fla., (305) 436-0866; visit NCL’s web site at

    Back to the top of the news list

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

    Cruise Diva Home | Site Map & Search