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News from the world of cruising ~
December 16-31, 2002

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

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CLIA Fleet Continues to Grow, With New Ships 
Adding to Vacation Options

NEW YORK, Dec. 30 -- Fourteen new vessels, as well as three re-launched ships and several others introduced in late 2002 but having their inaugural sailing seasons in the new year, will make 2003 another record year in the cruise industry, according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). From intimate vessels carrying 74 passengers to 3,000-passenger megaships, and everything in between, cruising offers a range of experiences to suit every vacation style.

"With expanded facilities, more activities, new dining options and a greater number of suites, balconies and verandahs, the newest additions to the CLIA fleet continue to demonstrate the industry's ability to offer something for each of the more than 44 million North Americans who have expressed an interest in cruising," says Bob Sharak, CLIA's executive director.

The following CLIA-member cruise lines have ships slated to join the fleet in 2003:

  Bora Bora Cruises: Tia Moana and Tu Moana are scheduled to begin sailing
  in the South Pacific in June, exploring Polynesia, its people and its
  relaxed culture. The 226-foot, 2,677-ton ships are designed to sail to the
  heart of the Tahitian lagoons.

  Carnival Cruise Lines: The 110,000-ton, 2,974-passenger Carnival Glory
  launches year-round seven-day Caribbean service from Port Canaveral July
  19. It features 22 lounges and bars; a 12,000-square-foot, Polynesian-
  themed health spa; expansive children and teen facilities; and an upscale
  "steakhouse-style" supper club, just one of several dining options aboard.

  Costa Cruises: The line's new flagship, CostaMediterranea, is set to
  launch in June. The 85,000-ton ship carries 2,114 passengers, and 736 of
  the staterooms feature verandas. The ship begins service in Europe,
  sailing seven-night cruises to Tunisia/Spain/France from Genoa. It
  then makes a transatlantic journey to Fort Lauderdale, where it will sail
  seven-night cruises to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. The
  2,720-passenger CostaFortuna is due to debut in late 2003.

  Crystal Cruises: The 1,080-passenger Crystal Serenity sets sail in July.
  The ship features a high space-per-guest ratio; expanded areas for spa
  services and other athletic, cultural and intellectual pursuits; more
  penthouses; and enlarged staterooms (85 percent of outside staterooms and
  suites offer private verandahs). The inaugural season includes a tour of
  northern Europe, the Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea, a transatlantic
  crossing, Caribbean/Panama Canal ports of call and a holiday roundtrip
  cruise to Mexico from Los Angeles.

  Cunard: The Queen Mary 2, which is scheduled to be delivered in 2003, is
  both the longest and tallest passenger ship in the world. The line's new
  flagship will carry 2,620 passengers and boasts sweeping staircases and
  expansive promenades; elegant staterooms--nearly three-quarters with
  private balconies; 10 dining venues; a theater; health spa operated by
  Canyon Ranch; the first planetarium at sea; children's facility complete
  with British nannies; indoor and outdoor swimming pools; hot tubs and a
  pet kennel. It begins a series of transatlantic crossings in 2004.

  Holland America Line: The 1,848-passenger, 85,000-ton Oosterdam departs
  July 10 from Southampton on its maiden cruise, the first of a series of
  12-day summer and fall Baltic and western Mediterranean cruises. Eighty
  percent of the staterooms feature private verandahs and suites The
  Zuiderdam and Prinsendam entered service in late 2002. Zuiderdam (sister
  ship to Oosterdam) is the line's year-round Caribbean vessel, sailing from
  Fort Lauderdale on seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises. The
  Prinsendam begins 14-day Golden Gateway Alaska cruises from San Francisco
  May 17.

  MSC Italian Cruises: The 1,600-passenger MSC Lirica is due to set sail in
  April. It  combines old world grace with contemporary technology and
  features a theater, discotheque, shopping gallery, swimming pools and
  whirlpools, fully-equipped gymnasium, as well as a Virtual Reality Center,
  Internet Cafe and special Mini Club for children.

  Norwegian Coastal Voyage Inc./Bergen Line Services: The 674-berth,
  15,000-ton Midnatsol (Midnight Sun) sails from Bergen April 15, replacing
  the 325-berth Midnatsol. Like its other Millennium-class ships, Midnatsol
  features more berths and deck space, more suites, Jacuzzis and Internet
  cafes, and the line's first private balconies.

  Norwegian Cruise Line: In its first season, the 2,224-passenger Norwegian
  Dawn offers regularly scheduled sailings to the Eastern and Western
  Caribbean from Miami through May 3, 2003, and summer seven-day sailings to
  the Bahamas and Florida from New York, beginning May 18. It features two
  Garden Villa suites, 10 different restaurants--three main dining rooms
  and seven ethnic, gourmet and casual restaurants--and 11 different menus
  every night.

  Princess Cruises: The 88,000-ton Island Princess debuts in May, joining
  its sister ship, the Coral Princess, which debuts in January. Sailing in
  the Panama Canal and Alaska, they boast the most balcony cabins of any
  ship in Princess's fleet, all the amenities of the line's larger ships,
  plus new innovations spread out over two decks and with fewer passengers.
  The re-launched 680-passenger Tahitian Princess will sail year-round in
  Tahiti and the South Pacific. The re-launched Pacific Princess begins
  sailing in April.

  Radisson Seven Seas Cruises: The all-balcony, all-suite 700-guest Seven
  Seas Voyager sails April 1 on a 12-night voyage from Monte Carlo to
  Venice. It features extensive butler-at-sea services, high space ratio,
  large marble-appointed suite bathrooms with separate showers and full
  bathtubs, and four dining venues, including Signatures, a Le Cordon Bleu-
  directed dinner restaurant. Its inaugural season will include
  Mediterranean, Western Europe and British Isles cruises, as well as a
  series of Baltic voyages.

  Royal Caribbean International: Two new ships join the fleet in 2003:
  Radiance-class Serenade of the Seas has nearly three acres of glass,
  including ocean-view elevators, and a wide range of activities from rock
  climbing to relaxing in the Solarium. The 3,114-passenger Voyager-class
  Mariner of the Seas features a rock-climbing wall, ice skating rink, in-
  line skating track, basketball court and Royal Promenade (a shopping,
  dining and entertainment "street" that runs down the center of the ship).

  Swan Hellenic:  The 694-passenger Minerva II, which had previously sailed
  as Renaissance Cruises' R8, debuts in April, continuing the line's country
  house style. More than 90 percent of the cabins have either private
  balconies or large picture windows. The ship also features an Internet
  Room, Swan Restaurant, Grill, Gallery Bar and Shops, fitness center and
  track, and spa and beauty salon.

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

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Legendary QE2 Sails From Hawaii to Tahiti & Passengers Save 50%

MIAMI, December 20, 2002 - When the world's most famous ocean liner begins a voyage in one tropical paradise and sails to another, it is terribly difficult to resist, particularly when the alternative is probably snow and ice, howling winds or torrential rains back home. When two can join this idyllic adventure aboard Queen Elizabeth 2 for the price of one, it is simply impossible to pass up the offer.

The 11-night cruise aboard Cunard Line's legendary flagship departs January 24, 2003, from Hawaii. Passengers embark QE2 in Honolulu to set off on a leisurely course to the warm and welcoming islands of Tahiti and French Polynesia. The itinerary also includes a full day and overnight stay on board ship in Auckland prior to disembarkation. While space remains, rates start as low as $999 per person, a savings of 50 percent.

Since the first sailing ships from Europe dropped anchor among the turquoise lagoons and coral atolls of French Polynesia, these 118 magical islands have symbolized romance and natural beauty. The volcanic peaks shrouded in wispy clouds, the mysterious rainforests, impossibly white sand beaches, the profusion of flowers and such treasures as the black pearls of Papeete have lured artists, writers and visitors ever since Captain Cook and his colleagues first arrived. The difference is that Captain Cook's voyages were journeys of extreme hardship with meals of hardtack and stale water; QE2 is offering a truly a romantic, thoroughly luxurious vacation with cuisine and wines and spirits worthy of the finest restaurants in the world.

Luxury at sea aboard Queen Elizabeth 2
Travellers making the South Pacific sojourn aboard Cunard's 1,791-passenger QE2 enjoy every five-star comfort en route. The luxurious liner features six dining venues; several elegant bars and lounges; a European-style spa, featuring his and hers dry sauna, a co-ed steam chamber and a co-ed thalassotherapy pool; a modern computer learning centre with both Internet and e-mail access; and the largest library afloat, manned by licensed librarians. Other shipboard facilities include a gymnasium, aerobics studio, cinema and proscenium theatre, casino, hot tubs, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, video arcade, golf driving range and putting area, formal wear shop (rentals available) and duty-free boutiques - including the only Harrods at sea.

QE2 uniquely features a florist, synagogue, children's centre staffed by British nannies, and the only kennel at sea. For any women travelling alone, a brigade of gallant Gentlemen HostsÒ assures that they will not miss out on a dance or a place in the holiday merriment.

The ship's five-star Grill accommodations have just won a prestigious maritime Oscar from the respected Berlitz guide to Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2003. The author, Douglas Ward, states: "If you occupy one of the top-level suites, with butler service and all the trimmings of finery, your experience should be nothing short of superb."

For more information on the 2-fo-1 offer on the QE2 Tahiti cruise, contact a travel agent, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or visit the website

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msy Wind Star Offers Year-round Cruising in Tahiti

Seattle, WA, December 19, 2002 — Windstar Cruises announces new schedules and cruise itineraries for 2003, offering a total of 131 enticing cruises to 44 countries and islands featuring 108 distinct ports of call. Changes to cruise offerings come after a redeployment of the 148-passenger msy Wind Star to Tahiti replacing the msy Wind Song which was damaged by an engine room fire.

During the 2003 European cruise season, the 148–passenger msy Wind Spirit will now operate a blend of the Mediterranean and Greek Isles cruises originally scheduled onboard both the msy Wind Star and msy Wind Spirit as published in 2003 brochures.

There will be no changes to the published cruise schedules of the 308-passenger msy Wind Surf featuring first time calls in the Baltics and Northern Europe.

The luxury line will maintain it’s year-round presence in Tahitian waters, resuming 7-day cruises on Jan. 24, 2003 aboard the msy Wind Star.

The most up to date information on all Windstar itineraries can be found on the company’s website at Customers currently booked on canceled sailings should contact their travel agent to explore the many attractive alternatives that Windstar is offering to guests.

"Our goal is to minimize disruption to our published 2003 season of cruises. All decisions on cruise redeployment are driven by customer preference," said Tom Russell, vice president of marketing and sales for Windstar Cruises. "While some cruise itineraries must now change, we will uphold our reputation for providing a luxury cruise vacation to exotic locales worldwide. In 2003, that includes our very popular year-round cruises to romantic Tahiti as well as exciting new cruises to Northern Europe, the Baltic, and longer cruises in the Mediterranean and Greek Isles," remarked Russell.

Tahiti and Her Islands — On Jan. 24, 2003 the msy Wind Star begins regularly scheduled seven-day cruises departing every Friday through December 2003. A total of 42 sailings roundtrip from Papeete, Tahiti explore the islands of Huahine, Raiatea, Bora Bora, and Moorea. Additionally, Windstar is offering one noteworthy cruise, sailing on Sept. 26, 2003 14-days roundtrip from Papeete, Tahiti to the Marquesas Islands of TV fame.

Itinerary highlights of the 7-day Tahiti cruises include overnight port calls at four of the islands. Guests will enjoy popular activities such as Windstar’s signature beach barbecue on Motu Tapu off Bora Bora and a deck barbecue under the stars the evening in Moorea. Multitudes of shore excursions offer everything from swimming with dolphins or sharks to flight seeing or para-sailing.

Greek Isles — Windstar will shorten their Greek Isles season from 24 to 10 sailings onboard the 148-passenger msy Wind Spirit, sailing 7-days between Athens, Greece and Istanbul, Turkey. Four cruises departing May 10 through 31 and six running from Sept. 13 through Oct. 18, 2003 will visit the timeless Aegean islands of Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, Bodrum, and Kusadasi.

Mediterranean — The 308-passenger msy Wind Surf will maintain her published 2003 itineraries in the Mediterranean offering a total of 16 sailings in May, June, Sept., Oct., and Nov. 2003.

The msy Wind Spirit will now offer 18 Mediterranean cruises departing April through Nov. 2003.

Windstar’s Mediterranean cruises journey across the famous sea from one end to the other departing from the following cities: Lisbon, Portugal; Barcelona, Spain; Nice, France; Rome, Italy; Grand Harbour, Malta; and Venice, Italy. Shipboard overnights in Monte Carlo, Marseille, Malta, Sorrento, and Venice are an attractive offering for cruise guests. All Mediterranean cruises are seven to 11-days in length and can combined to create longer cruise itineraries offering a ten percent discount on the second cruise.

Baltics and Northern Europe — In July and August of 2003, Windstar visits the Baltic Sea and Northern Europe for the first time ever on a total of 8 cruises. The msy Wind Surf offers four 10-day cruises from Copenhagen, Denmark with a St. Petersburg, Russia overnight. While repositioning to and from the Baltic Sea, Wind Surf makes two 10-day cruises between Lisbon, Portugal and Dover, England and two 12-day cruises between Dover, England and Copenhagen, Denmark. These cruises feature tours to 11 European capitals including St. Petersburg, Moscow, Paris, London, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Oslo, Talinn, Helsinki, Berlin, and Copenhagen.

Caribbean — Windstar continues its love affair with the hidden harbors of the Caribbean’s tropical isles with a total of 32 sailings in 2003, featuring the addition of Isla Culebra, Puerto Rico. Wind Surf makes eight calls at this private yachter’s haven during it’s run from St. Thomas to Barbados.

Wind Surf takes a twist on an old favorite with 16 cruises between St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. and Bridgetown, Barbados. The northbound and southbound itineraries vary so guests may combine them for a 14-day cruise without repeating any ports. She also offers two repositioning cruises between St. Thomas and Fort Lauderdale, Florida visiting the Bahamas.

St. Thomas is again Wind Spirit’s homeport in 2003, offering 14 cruises round-trip from the U.S. Caribbean outpost. Visiting both the United States and British Virgin Islands, the itinerary is favored by sailors looking for respite from the helm, yet yearning for a private yacht atmosphere.

Transatlantic — Yachting enthusiasts will relish choosing from among four transatlantic ocean-crossings in April and November of 2003. The ships crew will be aiming to break the record of 103 hours under sail power alone, set on Wind Spirit’s crossing in December of 2001.

Windstar offers a trip cancellation protection program that provides cash back for cancellation for any reason prior to 24-hours before departure. For more information including rates and itineraries, contact a travel agent or call Windstar at 1-800-258-SAIL (1-800-258-7245.) Visit Windstar Cruises online at

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MIAMI - As she criss-crosses the Atlantic Ocean and cruises the world, Cunard Line's Queen Elizabeth 2 lulls hundreds of guests to sleep on a regular basis. Come 2003, the most famous liner in the world will become the first ship to offer a pillow concierge service so that its passengers can feel even more cozy in bed.

In true luxury liner fashion, all accommodations aboard QE2 feature standard-size pillows that are filled with a blend of down and other premium feathers. The new concierge service lets passengers choose from king-size feather blend, standard- and king-size synthetic, 100 percent goose down, U-shaped, neck rolls, companion and head support cushions.

According to Deborah Natansohn, Cunard's senior vice president of sales and marketing, "Having the right pillow is just one more luxurious touch that enhances your comfort while on Queen Elizabeth 2."

The Right Pillow Can Make All the Difference
According to a 2002 poll by the National Sleep Foundation, Americans sleep about 6.9 hours every weeknight. Over the years, that number has continued to fall and complaints about sleepless nights and tired mornings continue to rise.

Pillows can also reduce snoring, but Cunard is not making any guarantees! Research shows that neck roll and U-shaped pillows are thought to reduce snoring because the contoured foam elevates the chin from the chest, keeping the jaw forward and airways open, which makes snoring less likely.

Obviously, for travellers with sleep, neck, or leg problems, the number and type of available pillows can be a real concern while on vacation. Cunard's new pillow concierge will help guests select from nine types of pillows to ensure restful snoozing while on board QE2.

Among the more unusual pillows in the group are neck roll head supports. These look like a typical, rectangular pillow, but with a neck roll pillow attached on one side. The roll supports the neck while the head rests on the pillow and can be used for sleeping on your back or side. Such pillows are ideal for people with headaches or neck pain.

U-shaped pillows are also offered. Shaped more like a candy cane than a horseshoe, these hypoallergenic pillows are beneficial for those who sleep on their sides. When properly used, the head rests along the curve, permitting the sleeper to cradle the long, straight section.

For the ultimate in luxury for passengers without allergies, Cunard Line offers 100 percent goose down pillows with a cambric cotton cover. Down consists of light and fluffy clusters of feathers that trap air by interlocking and overlapping each other. These air pockets help maintain temperature and produce superior "loft" or volume. Accordingly, all-down fill is widely regarded as the fluffiest and most luxurious of fills available.

2003 Marks Farewell Transatlantic Season
In addition to its unique pillow concierge service, Cunard Line's feted QE2 is presently the world's only ship offering regularly scheduled transatlantic crossings between New York and Southampton, England. The liner will celebrate her Farewell Transatlantic Season with 17 gala crossings from April through December 2003. Beginning in 2004, the transatlantic route will be assumed by the line's new, $800-million Queen Mary 2, currently being built in France. While 2003 marks the final season of transatlantic crossings for QE2, the ship will continue to operate Cunard's annual World Cruise and will offer a full schedule of exciting new voyages departing from Southampton.

For more information or to reserve a voyage, contact a professional travel agent, call Cunard at 1-800-7-CUNARD or visit the website

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Carnival Corporation Reports 4th Quarter & Record Full Year Earnings Per Share

MIAMI (12/19/02) – Carnival Corporation reported net income of $191.3 million ($0.33 Diluted EPS) on revenues of $1.04 billion for its fourth quarter ended November 30, 2002, compared to net income of $116.3 million ($0.20 Diluted EPS) on revenues of $959.1 million for the same quarter in 2001. Earnings for the fourth quarter of 2002 included a $17 million income tax benefit from the company’s Costa Cruises operation resulting from a new Italian investment incentive law, which was partially offset by a $5 million reduction in earnings from cancelled cruises. Earnings for the fourth quarter of 2001 included an impairment charge of $39 million, partially offset by an income tax benefit at Costa of $6 million.

Net income for the year ended November 30, 2002 was $1.02 billion ($1.73 Diluted EPS) on revenues of $4.37 billion, compared to net income of $926.2 million ($1.58 Diluted EPS) on revenues of $4.54 billion for the same period in 2001.

Revenues for the fourth quarter of 2002 were 8.0 percent higher than last year primarily because of an increase in cruise capacity of 7.9 percent and an increase in net revenue yield, which was partially offset by a significant decline in the number of guests purchasing air transportation from the company. Net revenue yield (net revenue per available berth day after deducting the cost of air transportation and travel agent commissions) increased by 2.6 percent compared to the 2001 fourth quarter.

Also impacting fourth quarter earnings was a 0.7 percent increase in the company’s cost per available berth day (excluding the cost of air transportation and travel agent commissions) primarily due to higher fuel costs. Excluding fuel costs, fourth quarter cost per available berth day declined 0.9 percent year over year.

Commenting on fourth quarter 2002 results, Carnival Corporation Chairman and CEO Micky Arison said he was encouraged that this was the fourth consecutive quarter of year over year earnings growth since the events of September 11. “While 2002 was a challenging year for all leisure companies, we were able to report record earnings per share of $1.73, reflecting the company’s resiliency in withstanding worldwide geopolitical events,” Arison said.

During the fourth quarter of 2002, Carnival Cruise Lines launched the new 2,974-passenger Carnival Conquest from New Orleans, the largest cruise ship ever constructed by Carnival, which is based year-round at that port. Carnival’s new 2,124-passenger Carnival Legend, which entered service in August 2002, began an eight-day Caribbean cruise program on Nov. 10 from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Also in November, Holland America Line took delivery of the 1,848-passenger Zuiderdam, the first ship in its new Vista-class series, which offers about 85 percent of its cabins with ocean views, of which approximately 80 percent have balconies.

Looking to 2003, Arison noted advance booking occupancy levels and prices, on a cumulative basis, for fiscal 2003 are up slightly compared to last year’s levels at this time. However, booking levels have slowed recently, which may have been partially caused by the recent media attention focused on stomach flu on cruise ships. Historically, widespread adverse media coverage on cruise industry issues has had a temporary negative effect on booking trends.

The expected increase in capacity in the first quarter of 2003 has been reduced from 15.5 percent to 14.9 percent due to cancelled cruises. Based on bookings to date, the company expects that net revenue yield for the first quarter of 2003 will be up approximately 1 to 3 percent compared to last year. In addition, operating cost per available berth day in the first quarter of 2003 is expected to increase approximately 4 to 6 percent year over year based primarily on significantly higher fuel costs and a significant increase in marketing costs associated with an expected 17.5 percent capacity increase in 2003. Both Carnival Cruise Lines’ and Holland America Line’s new advertising campaigns will appear in the first quarter of 2003. For the full year 2003, cost per available berth day is expected to continue at this higher level through the first half of the year and is projected to be flat to down slightly for the second half of the year as compared to 2002.

Separately, on October 4, 2002, the Federal Trade Commission announced the clearance of the proposed combination of Carnival and P&O Princess. Following this announcement, P&O Princess entered into talks with Carnival, and Carnival subsequently announced the terms of a pre-conditional proposal to enter into a dual listed company ("DLC") structure with P&O Princess. The pre-conditions to this proposal include the recommendation of the board of P&O Princess by no later than January 10, 2003. If the P&O Princess board recommends the proposal, the DLC transaction would be subject to approval by both Carnival and P&O Princess shareholders and would be expected to close in late first quarter or early second quarter of 2003.

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Holland America Line Captures Four Porthole Cruise Magazine Award & "Best Cruise Line" From Recommend Magazine

Seattle, December 18, 2002 - Holland America Line, for the second year in a row, has taken four Readers' Choice Awards from the prestigious Porthole Cruise Magazine. Readers voted Holland America tops in the categories of Best Alaskan Itineraries, Best Shore Excursions, Best Learning Opportunity Cruises and Best Facilities for Physically Challenged Guests. 

"These reader awards are particularly significant because they recognize the value guests place on the many special touches Holland America provides," said David A. Giersdorf, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "Our staff works hard to offer quality programs and services and these awards validate their efforts and affirm our belief that Holland America's exclusive experiences, premium service, itineraries, and enrichment programs provide guests with enhanced vacations." 

The Porthole awards recognize several important features of the Holland America Line cruise experience: 

* Best Alaskan Itinerary - As the leader in Alaska travel, Holland America offers 144 premium cruises in 2003, including the round-trip Inside Passage sailings from Seattle and new 14-day ms Prinsendam sailings from San Francisco. The company is committed to providing the very best Alaska cruise experience, combining superior itineraries with exceptional value and appeal for all ages. Thirty-one cruise-tour options extend a guests opportunity to explore Alaska and the Yukon by train, motorcoach, and dayboat, featuring the newest gem of the North - Kluane National Park in Canada's Yukon. 
* Best Shore Excursions - Holland America leads the cruise industry in the number and choices of shore excursions, offering 1,400 shore excursions worldwide in which 40 to 60 percent of guests participate, depending on the destination. In addition, the company introduced its Medallion excursions this year, with exclusive activities ranging from becoming a 19th-century Redcoat soldier for a day in Halifax to behind the scenes exploring of the Fortress Louisbourg in Nova Scotia. 
* Best Lecture Series - To enrich cruise programs of 10 days or longer, noted guest speakers featured in the Flagship Forum Lecture Series weave art, literature, politics and natural history into memorable portraits of places and people. In addition, Alaska bound cruises include a resident on-board naturalist to provide insight into wildlife sightings and the beauty of the region. 
* Best Cruise Line for Physically Challenged - Recognized as a leader in providing access for passengers with disabilities, Holland America offers facilities and services to give these guests as much assistance as possible when they choose to vacation aboard its ships. The line offers accessible staterooms, restrooms and public areas and provides such equipment as visual alert alarms and closed caption decoders for people with visual or hearing disabilities. Holland America also developed the industry's first accessible tenders to allow guests using wheelchairs to safely board tenders via hydraulic ramps and lifts for shore visits.

Recommend Magazine Acknowledges Holland America Line as "Best Cruise Line" For the second year in a row, readers of Recommend Magazine bestowed "Best Cruise Line" honors on Holland America. Published monthly for the domestic travel industry market, Recommend reflects the viewpoint of more than 55,000 travel agent readers across North America. "This award is gratifying because it reflects the overwhelmingly positive feedback travel agents receive from their customers who have sailed on Holland America ships," said Giersdorf.

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Catch Holland America Line's Wave

Seattle- December 18, 2002 - With the 2003 "Wave Period" fast approaching, Holland America is going the extra mile to help travel agents make the most of this busy booking period. The company is implementing a strong promotional program-a three-tiered effort to drive consumer demand, provide unparalleled agent support and make the booking process even easier than before. 

"We are gearing up for a record Wave Period," said David Giersdorf, senior vice president of marketing and sales. "We want to provide consumers and agents with incentives and opportunities to close the sale." 

Holland America is embarking on an ambitious brand and product marketing campaign that emphasizes the extraordinary value of the company's cruise and cruisetour vacations. Brand advertising in national magazines began in November, and TV ads will begin to air in mid-January. The advertising campaign will run through March of 2003. A wave of direct mailings and newspaper inserts will also play an important part in maximizing bookings during this busy time. 

To help agents maximize the Wave Period, Holland America is repeating its highly successful "Sales Call in a Box," a useful resource for educating and supporting travel agents. This year's package will be sent to 7,500 travel agencies and is packed with marketing information showcasing HAL cruises around the globe. The "Sales Call In A Box" will also include the new Europe Cruises video, helpful new information on booking group tours and other booking incentives. 

Holland America's electronic booking systems make it even easier to reserve a stateroom, select dining options, make payments and more. Whether on line at or using Holland America's sophisticated Interactive Voice Response systems, agents can confirm cruise itineraries, shore excursions and port information and make bookings online, confident they're receiving the best available fare with real time availability, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. The upcoming Wave Period is one of the most exciting times of the year for the cruise industry, and Holland America is undertaking extraordinary effort to ensure that its cruises and vacation packages are the most sought after tickets around.

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Luxury at Home: Six-Star Fleet to Offer Varied 2003 Domestic Itineraries

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 18 -- Unbeknownst to even the savviest of travelers, more than half of the 70 global itineraries scheduled by Crystal Cruises in 2003 will originate or end in North American ports. The 44 itineraries feature 17 round-trip voyages from Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans and Fort Lauderdale while 10 voyages will originate in the United States and conclude in U.S. or Canadian ports. An additional 17 sailings are scheduled to begin or end in the U.S.

"While Crystal is perhaps best known for our longer, more exotic itineraries throughout the world, we also offer convenient and easy travel opportunities closer to home," says Adam Leavitt, senior vice president, marketing.

The luxury line is offering itineraries for every taste and every season aboard its award-winning 940-guest ships, Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony. And, in July, the long-anticipated 1,080-guest Crystal Serenity will be launched increasing Crystal's capacity by 60 percent.

Crystal Symphony is scheduled to sail on three 2003 itineraries between New York and Montreal in September -- for the first time since 1997 -- marking Crystal's first return to New York in six years. Maiden calls on St. John's, Newfoundland and Norfolk, Virginia are also scheduled. Additionally, Crystal Harmony will embark on 10 Alaska sailings, the first a 10-day Vancouver to San Francisco voyage May 23 followed by nine round-trip cruises from San Francisco to Alaska beginning June 2 through September 18.

"There's a cruise for each and every season," says Leavitt. "We believe our guests will appreciate the choices close to home." Other 2003 domestic itinerary highlights include:

Three Holiday Cruises -- Travelers may choose among three ships in North America to celebrate the season, in either the Caribbean or Mexico, conveniently round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale, New Orleans, and Los Angeles.

More New Orleans embarkations -- Five of Crystal Cruises' Panama Canal and Caribbean voyages will begin or end in the Crescent City, including a round-trip Caribbean holiday cruise.

Three ships through the Panama Canal -- In 2003, Crystal Cruises' three ships will embark on 13 journeys that traverse the Panama Canal, offering convenient coast-to-coast sailings from Ft. Lauderdale, Costa Rica, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New Orleans.

Crystal Symphony's 2003 World Cruise -- In January, the line's annual world odyssey departs from Ft. Lauderdale for the first time ever, and travel for 104 days before ending in Los Angeles. It will feature Antarctica's scenic icy waters, a circumnavigation of South America and Australia, and other exotic locales in North America and the South Pacific.

Crystal is also offering traditional, far-reaching itineraries in 2003, with departures to and from North America. Included are voyages from Los Angeles/Yokohama; Yokohama/Vancouver; Fort Lauderdale/Buenos Aires (twice); Buenos Aires/Fort Lauderdale; Fort Lauderdale/Costa Rica (twice); Costa Rica/Fort Lauderdale; New Orleans/Costa Rica; Costa Rica/New Orleans; Sydney/Los Angeles; Fort Lauderdale/London; London/New York and Lisbon/Fort Lauderdale.

The company's 70 voyages are by far the most comprehensive in Crystal's history with itineraries of seven- to 104-days to all seven continents.

The 50,000-ton, sister ships, Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony are two of the most spacious and luxurious vessels cruising the world. Their unique size in the luxury market allows for smooth sailing and a wide range of innovative facilities, generous amenities and elegant accommodations. The Six-Star rated liners feature grand lounges, a lavish spa outfitted in accordance with the principles of Feng Shui, extensive exercise facilities, complimentary golf, yoga and Pilates instruction, the only Caesars Palace at Sea Casino afloat, and the innovative Computer University@Sea, offering 24-hour e-mail and internet access, as well as hands-on instruction, expansive decks, two pools, award-winning cuisine and entertainment, and exquisitely appointed staterooms, more than half of which offer private verandah.

Crystal Serenity, meanwhile, features an even greater space-per-guest ratio than her sister ships. Plans include expanded areas for spa services and other athletic, cultural and intellectual pursuits. Within a range of luxury accommodations, the line will increase its number of penthouses and enlarge its deluxe staterooms with verandahs. Approximately 85% of its all outside staterooms and suites will offer private verandahs, and, through a unique sheltered lifeboat design, all boast unobstructed views.

The luxury liners have won the travel industry's most distinguished hospitality awards and guidebook ratings. For the seventh consecutive year, Crystal Cruises was named best large-ship line in the 2002 readers' surveys conducted by Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure magazines.

Crystal Cruises is booked exclusively through professional travel agents. For a complimentary copy of the 2003 Cruise Atlas, call 800.820.6663. Visit their website:

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On Command and Allin Win Cruise Lines Business
Eight New Ships Under Contract for Interactive Television

DENVER, Dec. 17 -- On Command Corporation, the leading provider of in-room interactive entertainment for the hotel industry and its guests, and Allin Corporation, the leading provider of interactive systems and services for the cruise line industry, announced today that they will be supplying eight new cruise ships, serving more than 10,000 guest staterooms, with video-on-demand technology.

On Command and Allin first partnered together in 1998 to supply special markets with the latest in interactive television technology. The addition of these eight ships brings the total ships served by On Command and Allin to twenty-four with more than 30,000 staterooms. These ships come from the most prestigious fleets in the world, including those of Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Crociere S.p.A and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. The eight ships will be installed with On Command's latest digital video platform, Roommate, and will operate applications specifically designed by Allin for the cruise industry.

"We are extremely pleased with the opportunity to extend our service area within the cruise line industry," said Chris Sophinos, president and chief executive officer of On Command. "The Roommate platform supports all of the applications Allin has designed for the cruise ship market, and adds a whole new level of digital video functionality to those systems."

"The effective design and overall reliability of the On Command technology enables us to deliver state of the art systems to the cruise industry with an aggressive return on investment for the cruise lines," said Rich Talarico, chief executive officer of Allin Corporation. "With more than $150 million in transactions processed during 2001 alone on Allin installed systems, it has been imperative to us that we provide systems with unparalleled up time and reliability. Our five-year relationship with On Command has been based on that commitment to quality."

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Houston Port Authority Commission Addresses Cruise Business

HOUSTON, Dec. 16 -- The Port of Houston Authority (PHA) Commission approved a $1.3 million media campaign in addition to several other recommendations involving contract awards, bids and proposals, professional services, and general administrative and operational items during its monthly meeting on Monday, December 16, 2002. Chairman James T. Edmonds presided over the meeting at the Lou Lawler Seafarer's Center in Morgan's Point.

Cruise Business Matters
The Commissioners approved a recommendation authorizing the Port Authority's executive director to negotiate and execute a berthing agreement with Norwegian Cruise Line. NCL recently announced that it would resume leisure passenger cruises from Houston next November by offering West Caribbean itineraries that include calls at the ports of Roatan, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; and Cancun and Cozumel Mexico.

NCL opened up cruising from the Gulf ports in 1997 with its breakthrough Texaribbean program from Houston. The cruise line has described Houston as "a great drive up market" as well as an extremely attractive port of embarkation, especially for vacationers in the western half of the United States.

"We are delighted to herald the return of NCL to the Port of Houston," stated Chairman Edmonds. The Chairman also noted that Houston's port has become increasingly appealing to cruise line operators because of its close location to several popular Mexican and Caribbean vacation destinations. "The cruise industry's rapid expansion underscores the need for the Port Authority's proposed Bayport project, which will feature three berths to accommodate the growing fleets of sleek, modern and luxurious passenger vessels," Edmonds stated.

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EnviroSystems Improves Cruise Ship Clean Up With World's First Non-Toxic, Non-Corrosive Disinfectant
Nanotechnology-Based Product Is Efficacious, Fast, Cost-Effective And Environmentally Safe

SAN JOSE, Calif., Dec. 16 -- The recent outbreak of mild gastro-intestinal infection on several major cruise ship lines underscores the reasons why Scotia Prince Cruises switched to EnviroSystems' EcoTru® from conventional disinfectant and cleaning products more than a year ago.

"Before the introduction of EcoTru®, virtually all cleaning solutions and disinfectants used on cruise ships were harsh chemical compounds that proved corrosive to surface areas and could be toxic to passengers and crew," said Professor Matthew Hudson, Chairman of Scotia Prince Cruises. "We are not only the first cruise line, but in fact the first transport company to switch to EcoTru®," he said. "Equal in efficacy to chlorine, bromine and bleach-based disinfecting products, EcoTru® is harmless to people, animals and the environment."

"Before we were introduced to EcoTru®, our cleaning staff needed to wear protective aprons, face masks and rubber gloves when applying certain disinfectants," Hudson explained. "Despite all the safety precautions that were taken, it was impossible to avoid some skin irritation and noxious odors. They are much happier now and a happy crew means happy clients."

"We are unusual because we have the most demanding schedule of any cruise operator in the world," said Hudson. "For six months on our northern run we turn the ship in one hour twice a day. During that sixty minutes we unload up to 850 passengers and 200 vehicles, clean the ship including 320 cabins and reload another group of passengers and vehicles."

"We do this," he said, "for six months without stopping, and have done so for 33 years with a 99.7% degree of reliability. So we are always alert for any product or technology that can assist our ship's cleaning and turnaround process. Because there is no waiting for noxious fumes to dissipate, EcoTru® has made a real contribution to our operations. Based on our experience over the last year EcoTru® is the best product out there."

"At Scotia Prince Cruises, we have a responsibility to provide our customers with the very best in safety, reliability and hospitality within a healthy environment," said Hudson. "Similarly, we have a responsibility to provide our crew with the safest possible working environment."

According to the New York Times, "Once a virus boards a ship, it can spread rapidly and become extremely hard to eradicate. It can contaminate surfaces, linger for weeks, resist routine cleaning and flare up on cruise after cruise. Holland America, Disney and Carnival each canceled a cruise recently so their ships could be scrubbed, steamed and disinfected with bleach and other chemicals."

"EcoTru® is exceptionally well-suited for use on cruise lines and commercial airlines and in other mission-critical situations where harmful impacts on people and the environment cannot be tolerated as a cost of reducing microbiological risks," said Diana Hoffman, EnviroSystems' president and chief executive officer. "EcoTru® uses proprietary nano-emulsion technology, making it the world's first hospital-grade, non-corrosive cleaner and disinfectant that effectively reduces the spread of infectious disease without adverse environmental repercussion."

Scotia Prince Cruises, which recently launched the Yucatan Express, a luxury cruise ferry between Tampa, Florida and Cancun, Mexico, has been operating cruise ferry services in the New England-Nova Scotia region since 1970. It has treated more than five million passengers to world-class customer service and securely transported more than 600,000 vehicles. The line is recognized for its exceptional customer service, five-star dining, Las Vegas-style entertainment, superior safety and environmental stewardship.

EnviroSystems' focused expertise in the emerging sciences of nanotechnology and membrane biophysics helps position the company at the forefront of the infection control industry at a time when there is rapidly growing awareness of the critical need to reduce biological risks -- both natural and man-made. Its initial product, EcoTru® is the only hospital-grade surface disinfectant on the market that does not require U.S. Environmental Protection Agency handling, warning or precautionary statements and has passed stringent corrosion tests on metals, metal alloys, plastics and painted surfaces.

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NTN Communications to Install Interactive Entertainment Network Onboard Carnival Cruise Line Ships

CARLSBAD, Calif., Dec. 16 -- NTN Communications, Inc., the world's leader in interactive communications and entertainment products for the hospitality industry, today announced that it has signed an agreement with Carnival Cruise Lines, the world's largest cruise operator, to provide interactive trivia entertainment to the company's fleet. Passengers on Carnival ships will soon be able to enjoy NTN Network's® wide variety of entertainment trivia games in the ship's various lounges and bars. Carnival will initially install the NTN Network in six ships.

NTN Communications was selected to become an entertainment provider to Carnival after two successful trials aboard two of the line's "Fun Ships" during which guests enthusiastically played along with NTN trivia games and contests in lounges and other nightspots fleet-wide.

"Developing alternative distribution channels is key to our ongoing growth initiatives, and our relationship with Carnival Cruise Lines provides a strong opportunity to broaden the NTN Network services beyond our current hospitality segment," said Mark deGorter, President and Chief Operating Officer of the NTN Network. "Carnival is an extremely forward-thinking organization, and will be the first cruise line to offer our unique brand of entertainment to their patrons, thereby introducing the NTN Network to an entirely new group of consumers who will look to continue their entertainment experience once they get back home."

NTN plans to begin installing its SA-2000 hospitality system on Carnival ships throughout December. The SA-2000 -- utilizing technology that is independent of the current satellite configuration -- is ideally suited for use at sea and was developed to foster the same type of interactive community among cruise guests that exists in the Network's domestic and international installed base. The SA-2000 is currently utilized on military bases outside of the U.S. and Canada, and is "broadband-enabled," allowing the eventual opportunity for Carnival Cruise guests to compete in real-time with players in NTN's over 3,600 sports bar and premium casual dining installations throughout North America.

"Carnival Cruise Lines is very pleased to be working with NTN Communications to incorporate their interactive trivia games which will broaden the wide range of activities available aboard the 'Fun Ships,'" said Peter DeMilio, Carnival's Manager, Marine Technology. "Carnival has earned its title of Most Popular Cruise Line in the World by continually delivering the very best in onboard entertainment and this agreement provides our guests with yet another value-added amenity to enjoy during their 'Fun Ship' vacation," he added.

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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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