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

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

CDC Inspection Scores for all ships inspected--updated monthly

Holland America Line Comes Home To New York In 2006

SEATTLE, Dec. 9 -- Holland America Line announced that in 2006 it will deploy the 1,848-passenger ms Noordam for its inaugural Caribbean season sailing from New York City, the line's former headquarters. The premium cruise line will sail 13 Caribbean cruises from its new North American homeport beginning with the Noordam's inaugural cruise on February 22. Two transatlantic sailings also include New York as a gateway.

"We have wanted to return to New York for some time now and the Noordam presents a wonderful opportunity to introduce our premium product and a new ship to another North American homeport," said Rick Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "As our fleet expands, we capitalize on attractive new homeports and new  deployment. We are thrilled to return to New York. We operated from Pier 40 in the sixties and seventies and our company headquarters was there from 1978 to 1983. And, following the company's founding in 1873, the original Rotterdam made the journey from Rotterdam to New York, the first of many during the great period of immigration to the United States."

The addition of New York completes Holland America Line's Caribbean homeports in 2006 with Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Norfolk, and, now, New York.

  • New York Caribbean cruises feature a 10-day Eastern Caribbean program that visits Grand Turk, Turk and Caicos; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Departures sail on February 22, March 15, April 5, October 25, November 15, and December 6 and 27, 2006.

  • An 11-day Southern Caribbean itinerary calls at Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Roseau, Dominica; Bridgetown, Barbados; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Sailings depart March 4 and 25; Oct. 14; Nov. 4 and 25; and Dec. 16, 2006.

  • In addition, two 16-day transatlantic cruises sail between New York and Rome, departing New York on April 5 for Rome and returning on September 28. Ports of call feature Bermuda; the Azores; Cadiz, Valencia and Barcelona, Spain; Monte Carlo, Monaco; and Livorno, Italy.

Holland America Line features a shore excursion program with more than 500 Caribbean offerings. Optional activities for cruise passengers feature such tours as the America's Cup Regatta experience at Philipsburg, Tortola Dolphin Swim at Road Town, Tortola, and the Champagne Catamaran Sail and Snorkel to St. John at St. Thomas. The latter offering is part of the Medallion Collection shore excursions, designed by Holland America Line to provide discerning guests with unique experiences and in-depth perspectives. Pricing for Holland America Line's new 2006 New York-based Caribbean cruises start at US$1,199 per person, double occupancy, and can be booked starting December 20, 2004. 

Scheduled for delivery in January 2006, the ms Noordam is the fourth and last in a series of 81,769-ton Vista class ships. Eighty-five percent of its staterooms will offer ocean views, with 67 percent of all staterooms sporting verandahs. The ship will be delivered with Signature of excellence amenities in place, including plush Euro-top mattresses and flat panel TVs and dvd players in all cabins, new dining options, and the pampering Greenhouse Spa and Salon. For more information, contact a travel agent or call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit

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'Kids Sail Free' Aboard Crystal Harmony on
2005 Alaska Summer Cruises
Acclaimed Children's Programs Make Crystal Cruises Best Luxury Line for Families

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 9 -- As the demand for multi-generational family travel continues to grow, Crystal Cruises invites children under age 12 to cruise for free aboard seven Crystal Harmony 2005 Alaska cruises when sharing the same stateroom with two adults. Available during the peak family travel months of June, July and August, families and children of all ages will delight in the awe-inspiring majesty of the Last Frontier with specially designed shore adventures, onboard enrichment, and a comprehensive Junior Activities program.

With eleven departures from May through September, Crystal's 2005 Alaska season is the most extensive ever offered by the luxury cruise line. A new 7-day itinerary round-trip from Vancouver takes to sea on May 21, and ten 12-day cruises operate conveniently round-trip from San Francisco departing May 30; June 11, 23; July 5, 17, 29; August 10, 22; and September 3, 15. All itineraries feature at least one glacier experience; three of which include two glacier experiences.

"Alaska is an educational wonderland of discovery, offering travelers of all ages an open classroom in adventure, nature and the environment," says Bill Smith, Crystal's senior vice president of sales and marketing. "For families, a Crystal cruise represents tremendous comfort and value -- no other luxury line offers such an extensive program dedicated to children of all ages, while the journey through Alaska itself affords priceless experiences."

From the regal beauty of Victoria's Butchart Gardens to the Tlingit totem poles of Ketchikan, ports of call reveal the beauty of a land embraced by nature. Depending on the itinerary, guests will travel to Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Wrangell and Haines, Alaska, cruising the Inside Passage, Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier and/or Tracy Arm.

Along each itinerary, children will be amazed at the sight of breaching whales, calving glaciers and soaring eagles. An extensive collection of shore excursions in each port provides ideal options for family adventures such as the legendary White Pass Scenic Railway in Skagway, a Sea Otter and Wildlife Quest in Sitka, or the Misty Fjords Seaplane Flightseeing Exploration in Ketchikan. With its acclaimed children's programs and activities, Crystal is the luxury operator best suited for the family market. Crystal Harmony has a fully supervised Junior Activities program for kids ages 17 and under, and Fantasia -- the ship's dedicated children's playroom -- is outfitted with games, craft materials, Sony PlayStation(R) video games, and personal computers with entertainment and education software.

The line's highly qualified staff of Junior Activities Directors includes grade school, high school, and physical education teachers on summer holiday, as well as seasoned camp counselors. There is at least one counselor for each 12 participants, a ratio that supports a variety of age-appropriate activities tiered for toddlers through teens. Crystal also caters to children with a special Alaska program featuring a guest naturalist when Crystal Harmony cruises Glacier Bay and Tracy Arm. For example, younger kids display their handcrafted creations, such as frosted sugar cube igloos, in an Alaska Art Expo open for viewing by all guests. For their older brothers and sisters, one high point is a 'teens only' disco night for which they get their own personal invitations. Depending on itinerary, cruise fares start at $1,825 per person/double occupancy. The "kids sail free" promotion is limited to triple stateroom accommodations and is capacity controlled. For more information, contact a travel agent or call 866-446-6625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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New 110,000-Ton Carnival Liberty Floated Out
Ship Is On Schedule To Launch Carnival’s First Mediterranean Program In July 2005

MIAMI (December 8, 2004) –Carnival Cruise Lines’ new 110,000-ton Carnival Liberty was floated out of its outfitting dock at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, earlier this week. The initial stages of a cruise ship’s construction take place in a drydock facility. Once exterior outfitting is completed, the drydock is filled with water and the ship is “floated out” and moved to a wetdock facility where construction continues. Following this significant milestone in Carnival Liberty’s construction, interior outfitting has begun in preparation for the line’s first-ever Mediterranean cruises beginning July 20, 2005. The 2,974-passenger Carnival Liberty will be the largest ship in the contemporary market sailing in Europe. 

“Carnival Liberty promises to be a spectacular addition to our fleet,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. ”To showcase our newest ‘Fun Ship,’ we’ve created an inaugural schedule that includes port calls at historic and charming European cities, an unforgettable transatlantic crossing and visits to tropical destinations throughout the Caribbean.”

Carnival Liberty’s Mediterranean cruises will run through October 2005, after which the vessel will sail on a 16-day transatlantic crossing then launch year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., beginning in November 2005.

12-Day Mediterranean Cruises, 16-Day Transatlantic Crossing 
Carnival Liberty’s Mediterranean program will encompass eight 12-day cruises operating round-trip from Rome (Civitavecchia) July 20 – Oct. 12, 2005. Featured ports include Naples, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Venice, Italy (two-day call); Messina, Sicily; Barcelona, Spain; Cannes, France; and Livorno, Italy. Following the 12-day Mediterranean cruises, Carnival Liberty will operate a 16-day transatlantic voyage departing Rome (Civitavecchia) Oct. 24, and arriving at Fort Lauderdale Nov. 9, 2005. Ports of call include Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and Malaga, Spain; Funchal (Madeira), Portugal; and St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles.

Six- and Eight-Day Caribbean Cruises from Fort Lauderdale
The transatlantic voyage will position Carnival Liberty for an innovative schedule of year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale beginning Nov. 12, 2005. This marks the first time that Carnival has deployed a ship from Fort Lauderdale year-round. On this route, six-day cruises will depart Sundays and visit three ports: George Town, Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico; and Freeport, Bahamas; eight-day voyages will depart Saturdays and alternate to the eastern and “exotic” western Caribbean. Eight-day eastern Caribbean voyages will feature five ports: San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas/St. John, U.S.V.I.; Antigua, Lesser Antilles; Tortola/Virgin Gorda, B.V.I.; and Nassau, Bahamas. “Exotic” western Caribbean cruises will include Limon, Costa Rica; Colon, Panama; and Cozumel, Mexico.

Signature ‘Fun Ship’ Amenities 
Among the largest passenger vessels at sea, Carnival Liberty will encompass 13 passenger decks housing 22 lounges and bars, a 13,300-square-foot health club, duty-free shopping mall, nine-deck-high atrium, four swimming pools, a 214-foot-long cascading water slide, an Internet café and a comprehensive golf program. 
Dining options will include two formal restaurants, a casual poolside eatery, an upscale reservations-only supper club, a patisserie and complimentary 24-hour room service.

Of the ship’s 1,487 staterooms, 60 percent will offer an ocean view with 60 percent of those featuring a private balcony. Carnival currently is accepting reservations on all of Carnival Liberty’s 2005 departures. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL, or visit

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Strong 3rd Quarter Passenger Growth Continues 2004 Trend for CLIA-Member Cruise Lines

NEW YORK (Dec 8, 2004) – The cruise industry’s strong growth continued in the third quarter, as the member fleets of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) carried 2.873 million worldwide guests in the third quarter of 2004, a 9.72 percent increase over the same period in 2003. North American passengers grew by nine percent during the same period, to 2.351 million guests, up from 2.140 million third-quarter guests one year ago.

The 2004 third-quarter passenger figures are new statistics released today by CLIA, whose member lines represent over 95 percent of the cruise capacity marketed in North America. In addition to the growing passenger totals, CLIA cruise lines also posted impressive occupancy figures, with a 109.4 percent occupancy factor in the third quarter of 2004 compared with 107.2 percent for the year prior. 

“These impressive third-quarter guest totals reflect leisure cruising’s widespread appeal, and the determined sales efforts of the nearly 16,500 CLIA-member travel agencies,” said Terry L. Dale, CLIA’s president and CEO. “More and more, consumers recognize that seagoing vacations provide satisfying, high-quality travel experiences, plus tremendous convenience and value, particularly in comparison with land-based travel.” 

Overall, statistics for the first three quarters of 2004 show nearly a 10 percent increase in worldwide passengers to 7.897 million guests, up from 7.187 million for the same period in 2003. North American guest totals for the period grew 10.33 percent to 6.679 million, up from 6.054 million in 2003, while foreign-sourced passengers climbed to 1.219 million guests, up from 1.133 million in 2003.

CLIA’s passenger carryings statistics for the first three quarters of 2004 also include:

  • Itineraries of one to five days accounted for a 31.3 percent share of the cruise market; cruises of six to eight days accounted for 56.8 percent; nine- to 17-day cruises accounted for 11.5 percent and itineraries of 18 days or longer accounted for .4 percent of the market.

  • The average length of a cruise in the first three quarters was 6.93 days versus 6.84 days for the same period in 2003. 

  • Average industry occupancies through October totaled 104.5 percent versus 103.2 percent during the same period in 2003.

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MSC Opera Makes Headlines With Launch 
of Inaugural Caribbean Season

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Dec. 7 -- MSC Cruises' flagship, MSC Opera, arrived in Fort Lauderdale Thursday, Dec. 2 for its inaugural Caribbean season to a tremendous welcome from legendary Italian actress Sophia Loren and some 2,000 VIPs and extensive media coverage.

At the evening's gala, the standing-room-only crowd rose to welcome Ms. Loren, the ship's godmother, who responded, "Mamma mia! You really touched my heart. It is a wonderful honor to be the godmother of this beautiful ship," she said. "I am sure you will agree that she truly is, as we say in Italy, una bella signora!" Ms. Loren noted that she had also christened MSC Opera's sister ship, MSC Lirica, and said, "It is a rare honor to be godmother of two beautiful sisters." She emphasized the Italian qualities of the ship -- "the life, the hospitality truly reflect the taste and values of the owners, the Aponte family."

Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO of MSC Crociere, explained that Mediterranean Shipping Company, parent company of the cruise line, is the second largest container carrier in the world, operating 290 vessels. With revenue of $6 billion, it is "stable, solid and experienced." Citing the line's rapid growth in the past year, Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises USA, noted that MSC Cruises' presence in the North American market isn't simply a matter of new ships. "Anybody can build new ships. It's the personality of the product that matters," said Sasso. "People are looking for something special and they find that in us."

The evening's show featured several well-known Italian performers -- Italian tenor Enrico Scotto and singers Rita Pavone and Teddy Reno -- as well as one of the winners of the first International MSC Lirica Competition, which was held onboard MSC Opera on her maiden transatlantic voyage. MSC Opera was berthed next to the 5,000-ton container ship MSC Ulsan, which arrived earlier that morning. MSC Ulsan was also making its first visit to Fort Lauderdale, marking the shift of the company's South Florida cargo operations to Port Everglades.

MSC Opera will sail alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries as well as 10- and 11-night holiday cruises. She will be joined in January by MSC Lirica, which will offer 10- and 11-night Deep Caribbean and Panama Canal itineraries. For more information about MSC Cruises, visit

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Crystal Cruises Unveils Its 2006 World Cruise With Maiden Calls to Libya, Reunion Island and Mauritius 

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 6 -- Spanning 41 ports in 25 countries, Crystal Cruises' 2006 World Cruise will circumvent the globe on a new route with new twists. The annual World Cruise, considered the grandest of voyages, is the first of the luxury line's 2006 itineraries to be announced and marks Crystal's 11th World Cruise in as many years. Beginning on January 18 in Los Angeles and concluding in Southampton, England on May 5, the 106-day World Cruise aboard Crystal Serenity will be comprised of seven segments. For the first time, segments will begin or end in Lima, Peru and Melbourne, Australia, as well as segments that begin or end in Dubai, UAE (which Crystal will not have visited for five years); Cape Town, South Africa; Civitavecchia (for Rome), Italy and Los Angeles. Libya, Reunion Island and Mauritius are maiden destinations featured on the rich itinerary.

From Los Angeles, Crystal Serenity will head to Mexico, Ecuador, Peru and across to the islands of the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia. From Western Australia, Crystal Serenity will cross the Indian Ocean to Mauritius and Cape Town, up the east coast of Africa to Tanzania and Kenya, to the Seychelles and on to Dubai. From Dubai, Crystal Serenity will spend time in Egypt, make an inaugural call in Tripoli, Libya and cruise the Mediterranean to Rome. The journey concludes with a rich European cruise from Rome to England.

The 2006 route is sprinkled with more overnight stays and maiden calls than in 2005 and will offer optional overland excursions to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos and safari packages from Cape Town and Durban. The itinerary was crafted based on the responses of hundreds of surveyed past guests. "Each year our goal is to create the luxury cruise of a lifetime," says Gregg Michel, president, Crystal Cruises. "The 2006 World Cruise is the ideal blend of unusual ports of call, overnight stays, coveted destinations, and the unparalleled space, quality, choices and service that are unique to Crystal Cruises' ships."

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Princess Cruises to Crown a New Ship 
Crown Princess, debuting in 2006, is name of sister ship to Caribbean Princess 
Innovative vessel will feature new dining opportunities and design features 

SANTA CLARITA, CA (Dec 6, 2004) - Reprising the name of a former Princess ship, the line will name the next new vessel to join its fleet Crown Princess. A sister ship to the highly praised Caribbean Princess, it will debut in May 2006. Like her sibling, Crown Princess will also offer a year-round Caribbean deployment. But Crown Princess will not be an identical twin. Similar to Caribbean Princess, Crown Princess will feature a number of innovations designed for cruising in the balmy Caribbean waters, but the ship will also offer a number of new design evolutions to create additional options for passengers, including a piazza-style atrium, even more dining venues and redesigned public spaces.

New choices include several new eateries -- an International Café, Wine and Seafood Bar, pub fare in the Wheelhouse Bar, and a Steak and Seafood House -- as well as a redesigned Skywalkers nightclub and larger space on the top deck for the line's trademark Italian trattoria, Sabatini's.

Among the ship's signature spaces will be the ship's atrium area, which will take on a new flare and offer some tasty added options with an open piazza-style design. Within this street café environment, passengers will find a new International Café serving up fresh pastries and baked goods in the morning and assorted other offerings throughout the day, as well as a wine and seafood bar to tempt passengers with an assortment of fine wine and a bar featuring chilled seafood "cocktails." The ship's Internet Café will be housed in the atrium as well as the Travel Café -- a place to plan future travels. The 113,000-ton ship takes over the name of a Princess vessel that left the fleet in 2002. The original Crown Princess , which debuted in 1990, was the first ship built for Princess by the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, and construction of her successor ship is soon to be underway at the same yard. The first Crown Princess became the A'Rosa Blu for sister company Aida Cruises, a brand serving the German market.

"Crown Princess is clearly the perfect name for a Princess ship, and this seemed like the appropriate opportunity to bring this moniker back into our fleet," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales. "More importantly, her debut will further our growth in the region and our goal of providing one of the best cruise experiences in the Caribbean."

Crown Princess' public areas on decks six and seven will also offer new or redesigned spaces. Meeting planners will appreciate the new conference center, available to the many onboard groups. The ship's casino will now feature a private cocktail lounge for those who want to indulge in cigars and spirits. Princess' signature Wheelhouse bar will be expanded and moved forward (as on Diamond Princess), offering a club-like atmosphere with the addition of a menu of traditional pub fare and draft ale. The line's popular martini bar, Crooners will move its menu of 50 specialty martinis to an intimate location on the port side of the vessel.

An evolution from previous ships' Sterling Steakhouse concept, a new Steak and Seafood house will move into the area traditionally held by Sabatini's and the Wheelhouse Bar. This showplace eatery will feature an open, theater-style kitchen where chefs will custom-prepare steamed shellfish-- such as lobster, scallops, clams and mussels -- and cooked-to-order steaks and chops. Passengers can choose to sit at the kitchen's eat-up counter and watch the show as they dine. Larger than the Sterling Steakhouse venues, this 180-seat restaurant will feature the privacy of booths as well as tables and counter seating.

Up on the top decks other changes are afoot. The ship's profile will more resemble that of Diamond Princess with the signature Skywalkers nightclub moved forward towards the ship's funnel. A sports court will crown the top of this trademark disco and observation lounge. And the company's Lotus Spa will grow to a two-story space.

New to the top decks is Trattoria Sabatini, which will offer additional space for diners to enjoy this eight-course Italian extravaganza. The space will also offer a lounge area where Sabatini diners can enjoy a convenient pre-dinner cocktail. The stunning venue offers views on three sides with dramatic vistas over the ship. 

Of course Crown Princess will offer many of the special features than passengers have come to love on her sister ship. The vessel will sport the dramatic "Movies Under the Stars" poolside screen, featuring outdoor viewing of first run movies and special events complete with reserved padded lounge chairs, drink specials and movie nibbles. Café Caribe will continue to serve up tasty Caribbean specialties in a deluxe buffet setting, with a focus on a different island or region each night.

Princess passengers will also enjoy the many Personal Choice options they know from the line's other vessels. Princess continues to be the only line offering a choice in the ships' main dining rooms between Traditional seating and the restaurant-style Anytime Dining. Crown Princess will offer multiple show lounges and main dining rooms, as well as a variety of intimately designed public spaces for the "big ship choice, small ship feel" atmosphere that defines the line. Other ship features include a wedding chapel with Internet wedding cam, and an extensive children and teen's center with splash pool and outdoor play area, sports and fitness facilities, a wide array of educational ScholarShip@Sea classes, and a Princess trademark -- nearly 900 staterooms with private balconies.

Additional information about Crown Princess is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Royal Caribbean & Celebrity Cruises Offer New Way to 
Stay In Touch at Sea
Company Teams with Cingular Wireless & Maritime Telecommunications Network 
to Provide Cell Phone Service On Ships--Service Launched on Majesty of the Seas

MIAMI – December 3, 2004 – Guests on Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises ships can soon use their personal cell phones to stay in touch while at sea. Royal Caribbean Cruises has teamed with Wireless Maritime Services, a joint venture of Cingular Wireless and Maritime Telecommunications Network (MTN), to provide a convenient and affordable new communications option that allows guests to make and receive calls on their own cell phones (using their personal numbers) while in international waters. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., which pioneered the use of this service on Island Cruises’ Island Escape, a joint venture with First Choice Holidays PLC, has now begun to offer this service to guests sailing on its Royal Caribbean and Celebrity brands. 

“Our guests know they can count on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity to bring them the latest innovations, whether in onboard programming, ship amenities or technology,” said Jack Williams, president and COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “We know many of our guests will welcome this opportunity to stay within easy reach of their families, check voicemails or make calls.” 

The new capability is now available on Majesty of the Seas and is slated to launch in the coming weeks on Navigator of the Seas and the Celebrity ship Summit. The company plans to extend this service to its 29-ship Royal Caribbean and Celebrity fleet within the next year. Most cruise guests with GSM phones will be able to take advantage of the new service, making and receiving both voice calls and text messages as they usually do while roaming on land. Guests with data-capable GSM/GPRS devices may also be able to access data services, such as email and picture messaging. In addition, the companies intend to expand the offering so that customers of CDMA carriers also can take advantage of the service.

Guests will be billed by their own wireless phone carrier at the roaming rates set by that carrier. The new shipboard service will activate when the ship leaves the range of the closest land-based cell tower. While in port, cell service will revert to the local, land-based towers.

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Floating on a Sea of Dreams: Crystal Cruises Introduces Pillow Menu

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 2 -- With choice and quality at the heart of Crystal Cruises' legendary service, the award-winning cruise line has introduced a Pillow Menu offering the ultimate in comfort and luxury. From soft, fluffy down to therapeutic and hypo-allergenic, guests now have a choice of four different pillow types, each designed to cater to the particular wishes of a discerning clientele. The pillow collection is the newest addition to a roster of bedding opulence that was introduced fleetwide earlier this year. With Egyptian cotton sheets, king-size goose down pillows, and feather bed toppers now offered as standard bedding in all staterooms and suites fleetwide, the innovative Pillow Menu adds a dreamy elegance to the most luxurious beds found at sea. The Pillow Menu and luxurious bedding is available in every stateroom in every category aboard Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity.

"Often times, travelers may find it difficult to sleep away from home, yet our guests have told us that sleeping aboard Crystal ships is even better than home," says Thomas Mazloum, Crystal's senior vice president of hotel operations. "We genuinely look forward to making them feel relaxed and comforted at all times, day and night, by giving them choice and creating the voyage of their dreams."

Every bed--king, queen or single--features king and standard-size pillows, with the Pillow Menu providing additional options to fit the individual needs of each guest, including:

* Hypo-allergenic king- or standard-size pillows, filled with down-like polyfiber;
* Round neck pillows, sotonic elastic foam-filled, for neck or lumbar support;
* Firm standard-size pillows, with 95% feather and 5% down filling; and
* Therapeutic sleep-sensitive standard-size pillows, 100% polyester fiber with head and neck indent.

The Crystal Difference
Aboard the luxurious Crystal Cruises ships, Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony, and Crystal Serenity, refined elegance meets casual simplicity. With an emphasis on innovative product differentiation, the renowned Crystal experience is distinguished by classic service, abundant space, extensive choice, and superior quality, providing worldwide vacations that bridge the best of land and sea.

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Princess Expands Internet Options with Fleetwide Wireless Access & New Internet Cafés
Passengers Can Now Log On with Personal Laptops Aboard Every Ship 

SANTA CLARITA, CA (Dec 03, 2004) - Passengers who pack their own laptop can now use it to check their email or surf the Internet aboard any Princess ship. Wireless "hotspots" for Internet access have been expanded throughout the fleet, and are now available on all 14 Princess vessels. Passengers who want to enjoy web surfing from the comfort of their own computer can purchase Internet time for just 35 cents per minute and settle back to check their email or stock quotes from any of the ships' atrium areas. In addition, the Internet will be even more accessible aboard several ships which will sport new Internet Cafés, significantly expanding the number of computer terminals onboard.

"Staying connected is important to many of our passengers," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales. "So we are continually looking for ways that we can offer the convenience of additional Internet services that enable people to keep in touch on vacation. We have been gradually rolling our Wi-Fi program out over the past year and are very pleased to now be able to feature it fleetwide."

Passengers may purchase time on Princess' Wireless Network at the passenger services desk at a rate of $10.50 for 30 minutes. To access the network, users will need a laptop with wireless capabilities. Passengers with computers that do not already have a wireless network card may purchase a 'Windows XP' compatible card on board. New Internet Cafés are springing up throughout the fleet as well. Sun Princess, Dawn Princess and Regal Princess have each recently debuted a new Internet center. The centers feature 13 terminals on Regal Princess and 20 terminals each on Sun Princess and Dawn Princess.

Princess' Wireless Network first launched last year with the debut of Island Princess . All new ships have debuted with the service, and other vessels have been updated to offer the feature during the past year. Fleetwide, Princess ships provide a range of Internet capabilities. Shipboard Internet Cafés feature between eight and 26 terminals, depending on the vessel. Most centers are open 24 hours a day and are easily accessed when passengers swipe their cruise cards through the computer's card reader. Selected vessels also provide computer stations in the ship's library. Terminals offer Internet access with direct links to most popular web-based email providers, and passengers can print from the web for $1 per page.

Additional information is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Carnival Takes Delivery of New 110,000-Ton Carnival Valor
2,974-Passenger SuperLiner Will Be the Largest Carnival 'Fun Ship' Based in Miami

MIAMI, Dec. 1 -- Carnival Cruise Lines took delivery of the new 110,000-ton Carnival Valor, which will be the largest Carnival "Fun Ship" ever based in Miami when it launches year-round seven-day Caribbean service Dec. 19. The $500 million SuperLiner, which was constructed by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, will depart Monfalcone, Italy, today and is expected to arrive in Miami Dec. 13 then operate a special two-day Bahamas cruise Dec. 15-17. 

On Dec. 17, Carnival Valor will be "officially" named in ceremonies presided over by Katie Couric, longtime co-host of NBC News' "Today," who will serve as the ship's godmother. Carnival Valor will then launch a year-round schedule of alternating weeklong eastern and western Caribbean cruises from Miami Dec. 19. Eastern Caribbean cruises call at Nassau, The Bahamas; St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; and St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles, while the western route features Belize City, Belize; Isla Roatan, Honduras; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico.

"Newer, larger cruise ships such as Carnival Valor offer the facilities and features desired by today's consumers and we are delighted to welcome this spectacular 'floating resort' into the 'Fun Ship' fleet," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO.

Among the largest passenger vessels at sea, Carnival Valor houses 22 lounges and bars, four swimming pools, a 214-foot-long water slide, an Internet cafe, a 13,300-square-foot health club, a comprehensive golf program, and four restaurants, including an upscale supper club. Its numerous family-friendly amenities include a 4,200-square-foot children's play room, as well as a teen club/game room. Of the ship's 1,487 staterooms, 60 percent will offer either an ocean view or a balcony. 

Carnival is currently accepting reservations for Carnival Valor's eastern and western Caribbean voyages from Miami. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Norwegian Coastal Voyage Expands Air-Inclusive Programs for 2005

NEW YORK – Norwegian Coastal Voyage is expanding its air-inclusive cruise programs and upgrading the fleet for the 2005 season. A regional cruise tour program to the Lofoten Islands and two fjord regions is being introduced in April on the traditional MS Lofoten, Norway’s only floating national historic monument. Jacuzzis are being installed on five ships. The fleet has 11 ships sailing daily year-round along the 1,250-mile fjord-indented coast of Norway, calling at 34 ports from Bergen to Kirkenes, above the Arctic Circle.

Designed for active, experienced travelers interested in nature, three new 10- and 11-day cruise tours on the 171-passenger Lofoten add hiking, fishing trips and lectures to enhance daily excursions to well-known and remote destinations accessible by landings in inflatable boats. The voyages from Bodo or Bergen on April 20 to August 31 go north to the rugged Lofotens and explore fjords as far south as Stavanger and the Lysefjord, stopping at many places not on the regular NCV itinerary.

The launch of the 643-passenger MS Finnmarken in 2002, the first Millennium-class ship, set a new NCV standard with many more suites and the line’s first private balconies, Jacuzzis and Internet café. For the 2005 season outdoor Jacuzzis are being installed on two 674-berth Millennium ships, the MS Trollfjord and MS Midnatsol, and on the contemporary 464- to 490-berth MS Nordnorge, MS Nordkapp and MS Richard With. The Nordnorge is the fourth ship to be equipped with an Internet café. A new suite is being added on the Nordkapp.

An alternative to a traditional cruise, Norwegian Coastal Voyage is a unique combination of first-class cruise ship, a working ship carrying local passengers and cargo, and a lifeline to remote coastal towns and villages. A seven-day northbound, six-day southbound or 12-day round-trip sailing on “the world’s most beautiful voyage” is the centerpiece of three air-inclusive programs. NCV Vacations include transatlantic flights from New York, hotels with breakfast daily, the coastal voyage, gratuities, port charges and air taxes. Add-on airfares are available from Chicago, Washington, DC, Seattle and other U.S. cities.

Norwegian Coastal Voyage Inc. is at 405 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022; (800) 323-7436 or (212) 319-1300; fax (212) 319-1390; for brochures, (800) 666-2374, 24 hours a day;

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