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News from the world of cruise travel
December 16-31, 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

Star Clippers Moves Star Flyer to Singapore for Next 5 Sailings

MIAMI (Dec. 30, 2004) -- Continuing reports of tsunami damage to Phuket, Thailand, homeport to Star Flyer, have resulted in a decision by Star Clippers to relocate spv Star Flyer's homeport to Singapore for the Jan.8, 15, 22, 29 and Feb. 5, 2005 seven-night sailings. Star Clippers expects to return to Phuket, Thailand in the middle of February 2005. Fortunately, spv Star Flyer was at Pangkor Island in Malaysia, destined for Singapore, so was not in the area affected by the devastating Dec. 26 tsunami. 

Star Flyer's new 7-night itinerary from Singapore will feature the highlights of Malaysia, including Pangkor Island, Langkawi, Penang and Malacca. All of these ports experienced almost no impact from the tsunami. Plus, Singapore's outstanding harbor facilities and its wide selection of airline flights create an exceptionally convenient homeport alternative to Phuket, Thailand. A detailed revised itinerary for the next five sailings will be available by January 3, 2005. For additional information, contact your travel professional, call 1-305-442-0550 or visit

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Royal Caribbean Gives Generation Y a Taste of Things to Come
New Y Spa Menu Features Services for Younger Cruisers

MIAMI, Dec. 28 -- Generation Y is getting a taste of adult treats -- and treatments -- with the introduction of Royal Caribbean's Y spa, a menu of teen spa treatments and services specifically tailored to the line's younger guests.

"Y Spa provides the perfect opportunity for our teen guests to forget about school stress and return from vacation refreshed and ready to go," said David Stanley, vice president, Fleet Operations Revenue, for Royal Caribbean International. "It is also a chance for mothers and daughters or fathers and sons to share some quality time while being pampered by our spa staff."

Offered fleetwide to male and female guests ages 13 to 17, Y Spa features treatments including massages, facials, hair and nail treatments, and fitness classes. To melt muscle tension away, teens can choose a 25-minute aromatherapy massage or a Surfers Scrub. The Scrub, an invigorating sea salt scrub with seaweed, is perfect for tired muscles after a day of rock climbing onboard or exploring ashore. Moms and dads can get in on the special treats and spend time with their teens with a 25-minute Mother and Daughter Paradise Massage or a Father and Son Chill Out Massage.

Teen cruisers can tackle skin problems with a 50-minute Acne Attack facial, featuring an advanced oxygen treatment, or enjoy the sweet scents of a Fabulous Fruity facial that deep cleans skin with a mixture of organic, fresh fruits. Teens looking for a safe tanning alternative can take advantage of the Fake Bake -- an invigorating body scrub followed by an application of self- tanning cream to the face and body. For special evenings out at the teen disco, Royal Caribbean's salons offer styling sessions with a personalized consultation followed by color and a cut, as well as 25-minute manicures or 45-minute pedicures.

At the gym, fitness buffs wanting to stay in shape on vacation can sign up for the Fitness Frenzy package. Participants sweat it out in three specialized boot-camp style classes run by the ships' fitness staff and also receive a personalized metabolism test.

Teen guests must receive parental consent to receive treatment from the Y Spa menu. Only teens 16 years or older will be able to participate in the Fitness Frenzy classes. Prices range from $23 for a manicure to $100 for a Stylin' Session, which includes a personal consultation, color and cut. The Y Spa treatments were developed by Elemis for the Royal Caribbean day spas, which are operated by Steiner Leisure Management.

Additional information can be found on the company's web site at or by calling 800-327-6700.

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Win a Trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras

If you’ve always dreamed of riding on a real Mardi Gras float, now’s your chance! Enter’s contest and you may win airfare for two, two nights in the Hotel Saint Marie in the historic French Quarter, dinner for two at the Palace Café and the Redfish Grill, and a ride in the Krewe of Pontchartrain parade. Before and after the parade you’ll be treated to parties with the Krewe members. Deadline for entering is January 12, 2005. For more information and complete details, and to request a FREE visitor’s guide with $2400 in coupons, visit

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MSC Cruises Offers Powerful Lineup of Baseball Theme Cruises

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL (Dec. 27, 2004) -- Cruises has a full lineup of baseball theme cruises slated on the new MSC Opera during its winter sailings in the Caribbean. “This is a great opportunity for fans of the game to fill the time between the World Series and spring training with baseball, as they meet and learn from some of the game’s legends,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA). 

Each cruise from Fort Lauderdale will feature at least six of baseball’s all-time greats. During the cruise, guests can test their baseball knowledge in a player-hosted trivia game, participate in question-and-answer sessions and obtain player autographs. Players will also host pitching, hitting and defensive strategy clinics.

The Jan. 22 Western Caribbean cruise will feature Frank Howard, Amos Otis, Rudy May, Ed Figueroa, Jerry Koosman and Ken Griffey Sr. The itinerary includes calls at Key West, Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Roatan Island. Three Eastern Caribbean itineraries (with calls at San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Croix and Nassau) will also feature baseball greats. Among those participating in the Feb. 12 cruise will be Tony Oliva, Fritz Peterson, Juan Marichal, Bill Russell, Willie Horton and Hector Lopez, while Don Larsen, Gorman Thomas, Glenn Beckert, Ron Swoboda, Gary Peters and Earl Williams will be on the Feb. 26, 2005 sailing. The March 12 cruise will include Earl Weaver, Tom Tresh, Cito Gaston and Lee May.

On each of the baseball cruises, there will also be time to enjoy the elegance, Italian cuisine, ambiance, and exceptional service of cruising “With a True Italian Signature” as the ship sails. Prices begin at $545 per person, double occupancy. For further information and brochures, contact a travel agent, call 1-800-666-9333 or visit the company's website at

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Celebrity Cruises Deploys Fourth Ship to Europe
Century to Join Constellation, Galaxy & Millennium in Response to Demand

MIAMI, Dec. 21 -- Steadily increasing demand for Celebrity Cruises' vacation experiences in Europe has led the top-rated premium line to deploy a fourth ship to the region in 2005. The 1,750-guest Century, previously scheduled to sail 9- and 10-night Caribbean cruises next spring and summer, will join Celebrity's Constellation, Galaxy and Millennium in Europe, offering vacationers the greatest capacity and broadest array of options Celebrity has offered to-date in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. Following a 14-night transatlantic cruise departing from Fort Lauderdale on May 7, Century will sail a series of 12-night Baltic cruises roundtrip from Amsterdam, a unique Norwegian Fjords cruise, and 10- and 11-night Mediterranean cruises, before returning to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., departing roundtrip on alternating 9- and 10-night Caribbean cruises. The new European sailings open for booking January 4, 2005.

"We've enjoyed offering a year-round option in the Caribbean with Century, but our guests' demand for more Celebrity vacation options in Europe can't be ignored," said Celebrity Cruises President & COO Jack Williams.

The sheer value of a Celebrity vacation also can't be ignored. As the U.S. dollar continues to decline against the euro, a growing number of savvy travelers are honing in on cruising as the definitive way to experience Europe.

"Celebrity Cruises has always represented incredible value, and next year, particularly compared with traditional land-based vacations in Europe, it's absolutely incomparable," said Williams. "There's the convenience factor as well. You unpack once, and your premium hotel moves with you, from one magnificent port to the next." Williams tagged Century "the obvious choice" for the fourth ship to sail in Europe next year. The ship was the first in the Celebrity fleet to sail in the region when the line launched regular service there in 1999.

The sophistication of Europe is echoed in Century's onboard experience, featuring the fresh, gourmet cuisine of renowned Master Chef Michel Roux; the stylish Cova Cafe Milano, Celebrity's seagoing version of the chic coffeehouse in the fashion district of Milan; the exotic AquaSpa(R) by Elemis, and a host of sumptuous services and amenities, including Les Clefs d'Or-certified Concierges, expertly trained Sommeliers, and 24-hour butler service in every suite.

Century's 2005 Europe Itineraries
Century sets sail for Europe on a 14-night transatlantic cruise departing Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on May 7, with an overnight visit to King's Wharf, Bermuda, and calls on Lisbon, Portugal; Vigo, Spain; and LeHavre (for Paris), France, concluding in Amsterdam. From Amsterdam, Century presents roundtrip 12-night Baltic cruises on May 21; June 2, 14 and 26; July 8 and 20, with calls on Copenhagen, Denmark (overnight); Oslo, Norway; Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; St. Petersburg, Russia (overnight), and Tallinn, Estonia.

On August 13, guests have the unique opportunity to experience the stunning Norwegian Fjords in Celebrity style, when Century departs roundtrip from Amsterdam on a 7-night cruise calling on Bergen, Olden, Alesund, and Flam, Norway. Century sets sail August 20 on a repositioning cruise, featuring visits to an extraordinary series of classic ports, including Zeebrugge (for Brussels), Belgium; LeHavre (for Paris), France; Vigo, Cadiz and Malaga, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Civitavecchia (for Rome) and Livorno (for Florence/Pisa), Italy; and Villefranche (for Nice/Monte Carlo), France, concluding in Barcelona, Spain. 

The beauty of the Balearic Islands -- and Celebrity's first calls on both Ibiza and Valencia, Spain -- await guests on Century's September 2 and 23 sailings, also calling on Marseilles/Provence and Villefranche (for Nice/Monte Carlo), France; Livorno (for Florence/Pisa) and Civitavecchia (for Rome), Italy; and Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

Century caps her European season in 2005 with two cruises in the Tyrrhenian Sea, departing Barcelona September 12 and October 3, and marking Celebrity's first calls on Palermo, Sicily and Cartagena, Spain. The cruises also feature calls on Ajaccio, Corsica, France; Civitavecchia (for Rome), Naples, Italy; Valletta, Malta, and Messina, Sicily. Century heads westward on October 14, departing Barcelona on a 15-night transatlantic voyage, with calls on Marseille/Provence and Villefranche (for Nice/Monte Carlo), France; Civitavecchia (for Rome), Italy; Malaga, Spain; Ponta Delgada, Azores; and Nassau, Bahamas, ending in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. There, Century resumes her Caribbean season, offering roundtrip exotic 9- and 10-night vacations.

Celebrity has established special toll-free numbers to reaccommodate guests booked on Century's Caribbean cruises affected by the new European sailings. Guests with individual bookings are asked to call 1-888-837-5676. Groups are asked to call 1-888-305-4549.

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Springtime Blossoms With Up to 20% Additional Savings on Select Crystal Cruises to the Mediterranean and Alaska
Cruises Purchased in U.S. Dollars Provide Incredible Value in Light of High Euro

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 21 -- Luxury cruise specialist Crystal Cruises is offering up to 20% additional savings, representing up to $500 per person, on select spring itineraries to the Mediterranean and Alaska when travel is booked by January 31, 2005. In addition to the limited time offer, savvy consumers will appreciate the tremendous value inherent in purchasing a luxury cruise and its accompanying land tours in U.S. dollars due to the high Euro. Offered in addition to specially priced fares already earmarked for these voyages, the savings vary depending on the sailing date and range from 10-20%. The promotion is available for all new bookings made on any of five different cruises from April through June, including four Mediterranean departures aboard Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, and one Alaska journey aboard Crystal Harmony.

"Right now, given the high cost of the Euro against the dollar combined with our early booking promotion, a cruise vacation purchased in U.S. dollars represents incredible value. Sophisticated travelers have a great opportunity to enjoy Crystal's destination expertise, rich itineraries with longer port calls and award-winning service at significant savings," says Bill Smith, Crystal's senior vice president of sales and marketing. "Further, springtime in Europe and early summer in Alaska are perfect times to visit these incredibly popular destinations, as they are blessed with ideal weather and the peak summer travel rush has not yet begun."

New 7-day Mediterranean
Crystal has added three new seven-day itineraries to its Mediterranean season appealing to travelers who seek shorter escapes, but still want all the luxury and exquisite service of a Crystal vacation. The new itineraries are port-intensive and showcase the surprising secrets of the Mediterranean in spring -- such as the spectacular sight of Rome's Spanish Steps blanketed in pink azaleas. Each features at least one overnight stay in treasured destinations such as Venice and Sorrento.

  • May 9-16, 2005 (7 days); aboard Crystal Serenity from Rome to Venice (overnight); visiting Florence/Livorno and Sorrento, Italy; Corsica, France; and Split, Croatia. With the new 15% savings promotion, fares begin at $2,317.

  • May 14-21, 2005 (7 days); aboard Crystal Symphony, round-trip Rome; visiting Portofino, Florence/Livorno, Sorrento (overnight), Italy; and Monte Carlo, Monaco. With the new 20% savings promotion, fares begin at $1,995.

  • May 16-23, 2005 (7 days); aboard Crystal Serenity from Venice (overnight) to Athens; visiting Monemvasia (maiden call), Santorini, and Mykonos, Greece; and Kusadasi, Turkey. With the new 15% savings promotion, fares begin at $2,317.

Western Europe

  • April 27-May 9, 2005 (12 days); aboard Crystal Serenity from London to Rome; visiting Dublin, Cork, Ireland; Oporto, Lisbon, Portugal; Gibraltar, United Kingdom; Barcelona, Spain; Cannes, France; and Florence/Livorno, Italy. With the new 10% savings promotion, fares begin at $3,626.


  • June 11-23, 2005 (12 days); aboard Crystal Harmony, round-trip San Francisco; visiting Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Wrangell, Alaska; and cruising Glacier Bay. With the new 10% savings promotion, fares begin at $2,533.

Fares quoted are per person based on double occupancy accommodations. In addition to air/sea coach fares from more than 100 North American cities, Crystal is also offering a special low business class air add-on to Europe for bookings made by March 31, 2005. For additional information, please contact a travel agent or call 866-446-6625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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NCL Orders Two New Ships for Delivery in 2007

An artist's rendering of the NCL ship from the Aker Finnyards in Finland. (PRNewsFoto)

MIAMI, Dec. 17 -- NCL Corporation ("NCL") announced today that it will build two new 2,400-berth Freestyle Cruising ships with delivery dates in time for the summer season of 2007. One ship will be built at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany and will be delivered in February 2007. The other ship will be built at the Helsinki Finland yard of Aker Finnyards and will be delivered in May 2007. The orders are subject to documentation and certain conditions being fulfilled before becoming effective, including inter alia, the securing of specified financing packages. The aggregate effective all-up cost of the two ships is estimated to be euro 770 million, or approximately $1 billion at today's exchange rates.

The Meyer ship will be an exact repeat of the Norwegian Jewel, currently under construction at that yard and due for delivery in August 2005. It will have 2,384 lower berths, 10 restaurants, an expansive top-of-ship complex of Garden Villas and Courtyard Villas, multiple lounges, bars, and entertainment venues, and some 540 staterooms and suites with private balconies.

The Aker Finnyards ship will be a new design, incorporating all of the features of the series of purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships that NCL has introduced since 2001. Slightly larger in capacity than the Meyer ship, it will have around 2,430 berths. Additionally, it will have over 840 staterooms and suites with private balconies. In a first for the industry, every outside stateroom on this huge ship will have its own private balcony. The Aker Finnyard's order will include an option for a second ship, for delivery in early 2008, with exercise of the option by end of August 2005.

Commenting on the new orders, Star Cruises chairman Tan Sri K T Lim said: "These new orders confirm our strong confidence in this business and our commitment to rapidly renewing the NCL fleet and putting ourselves in the position very soon of having the youngest fleet in the industry." The two new ships will be the eighth and ninth new ships introduced to the NCL fleet since Star took control of the company in early 2000, bringing the investment in new ships since that time to over $3.75 billion.

According to Colin Veitch, President and CEO of NCL, "We are very pleased to have been able to strike these deals at prices that make sense for us in spite of the weak dollar exchange rate. We will be building with two excellent shipyards and we know that these will be top quality, high-earning ships and strong additions to our Freestyle Cruising fleet. We are very pleased indeed to be continuing our relationship with Meyer Werft, a relationship that has spanned almost a decade and that has resulted in the delivery already of four world class ships to our group, and now a total of three more on order. With Meyer we know what we are getting and we are very satisfied with that."

Since 1998, Meyer has delivered Superstar Leo (now Norwegian Spirit), Superstar Virgo, Norwegian Star, and Norwegian Dawn, and is building Norwegian Jewel, Pride of Hawai`i, and now this additional repeat of Norwegian Jewel. "We are equally pleased," Veitch said, "to be re-opening our relationship with Aker Finnyards after an interval of roughly 16 years since the same shipyard delivered the NCL ship Seaward in 1988. And we are excited at the design solution we and the yard have been able to arrive at that gives an unprecedented number of balcony cabins on a Panamax ship. It will be the 'richest' ship in the NCL fleet in terms of revenue potential."

NCL has a program in place to transfer to Star Cruises, all six of the mid-size middle-aged ships that constitute the core NCL fleet from pre-Star days. Between 2005 and 2009 over 8,000 berths will leave the NCL fleet, and therefore a major new building program is under way not only to replace those transferred berths but also to continue to grow the fleet at the same time. By expanding its building activities beyond its traditional one yard, NCL will access greater capacity to meet these needs. "We wanted two new ships in time for the summer of 2007," Veitch said, "and no one yard could do that for us so we are now at the point where it makes sense for us to start working with more than one yard."

NCL Corporation ("NCL") is an innovative cruise company headquartered in Miami, Florida, with a fleet of 14 ships in service and under construction. The corporation oversees the operations of Norwegian Cruise Line, NCL America, and Orient Lines. On July 4, 2004, NCL made U.S. maritime history when it introduced the reflagged Pride of Aloha, the first modern U.S.-flagged cruise ship in nearly 50 years. The 2,002 passenger ship is 100% U.S.-crewed, and sails year-round in Hawaii under the NCL America brand alongside Norwegian Wind from sister brand, Norwegian Cruise Line. The company is currently building three ships, including two more for the NCL America brand in Hawai`i - Pride of America (delivery in June 2005) and Pride of Hawai`i (delivery in April 2006). Norwegian Jewel will join the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet in August 2005. For further information on NCL or NCL America, agents in the U.S. and Canada may contact NCL at (800) 327-7030; visit NCL's website at

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New Carnival Valor to Feature Soothing Spa Treatments, High-Tech Gym, New Youth Spa Program

MIAMI -- The 13,300-square-foot Spa Carnival health and fitness facility aboard the new 110,000-ton Carnival Valor will feature a wide variety of treatments and services, ranging from relaxing "European-style" spa treatments and soothing facials to the latest exercise equipment and fitness classes. A new youth spa program, "Y Spa Program" (for Generation Y), offering treatments created specifically for teens, will also be available. "Carnival Valor's health facility offers a wide range of services and treatments for guests - whether it's to keep them in shape with the latest exercise equipment or pamper them with a relaxing and rejuvenating spa treatment," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO.

Dickinson added that the company anticipates more than 1.5 million guests will use its health and spa facilities aboard the line's 20 ships in 2005. Among the offerings available with the new "Y Spa Program" are the Fabulous Fruity Facial, a deep-cleansing, "tasty" facial that uses an organic mixture of fresh fruits to moisturize and nourish the skin; and Surfers Scrub, an invigorating and refreshing sea salt scrub that uses Devils Apron Seaweed with refreshing mint. 

Other new services include a new daily poolside braiding service, where a specialist will be on deck to braid hair using colored beads or wraps, and Gentle Touch Tooth Whitening, a tooth whitening system that uses an FDA-approved non-toxic gel and laser therapy that gently but efficiently lifts away stains from coffee, nicotine, red wine and other strong food colorants. Carnival Valor's spa will also offer a variety of popular "European-style" treatments, including "aroma stone therapy," which is based on an ancient ritual that combines heated and scented oils with a full body massage using warm basalt stones, creating a relaxing and rejuvenating sensation, and La Therapie Facial, a treatment that penetrates the deeper layers of the skin with active ingredients of organic gels and creams using high-frequency galvanic stimuli. Located on Spa Deck 11, Carnival Valor's spa will also feature large picture windows providing panoramic views of the sea, along with complete locker room facilities, as well as steam rooms and saunas with ocean views. A boutique offering a variety of spa products for sale, along with a full-service beauty salon featuring hair services and two dedicated areas for manicures and pedicures, will also be available. 

The workout area will feature Keiser equipment, such as rowing and stair-climbing machines, treadmills and exercise bikes, and free weights, as well as an aerobics studio offering a range of instructor-led fitness classes, including low- and high-impact aerobics, yoga, kickboxing and spinning. Carnival Valor's Lincoln and Washington dining rooms will feature Spa Carnival Fare, dishes lower in fat, calories, sodium and cholesterol, as well as a selection of vegetarian and low-carb dishes. Rosie's restaurant, the expansive two-level poolside eatery, will also include an extensive salad bar and a 24-hour frozen yogurt station. 

The ship began year-round seven-day service from Miami Dec. 19, operating alternating week-long voyages to the eastern and western Caribbean. Eastern Caribbean cruises call at Nassau, The Bahamas; St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; and St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles, while western Caribbean cruises visit Belize City, Belize; Isla Roatan, Honduras; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit 

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Celebrity Cruises' Horizon Moves to Island Cruises Fleet

MIAMI, Dec. 14 -- Celebrity Cruises' Horizon will move to the Island Cruises fleet in October 2005 under a six-year lease agreement arrangement with the British-based cruise line. Island Cruises, created in May 2000, is the brand name of Sunshine Cruises Limited, a joint venture between Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and First Choice Holidays PLC, one of the United Kingdom's largest integrated tour operators.

"Island Cruises has performed well in its first three years," said Jack Williams, president and chief operating officer of Celebrity Cruises. "By adding a ship, Island Cruises can continue to grow its brand and overall presence in Europe and South America. Horizon has served our Celebrity Cruises guests very well during the past 14 years and will continue to do so for the guests of Island Cruises."

Since its first sailing in spring 2002, Island Cruises has attracted a high number of first-time cruisers with its casual ambiance. The cruise line offers informal, flexible and affordable cruise vacations with open-seating dining and a relaxed dress code. It currently offers two transatlantic, six Brazilian and three Mediterranean itineraries on the 1,740-guest Island Escape. The line also offers combination cruise/hotel packages with 20 resort hotels in Majorca, Sao Paolo and Rio De Janeiro, as well as air/sea packages originating from 16 regional airports. Island Escape previously sailed as Royal Caribbean International's Viking Serenade.

"We couldn't be happier about the expansion of our fleet, especially with such a wonderful ship," said Michael Bayley, managing director of Island Cruises. "We look forward to growing our cruise line and providing our guests with even more alternatives for their cruise vacations."

Horizon will complete its current winter sailings to the Caribbean from the Port of Tampa and its summer 2005 Bermuda sailings from the Port of Philadelphia. The ship will be turned over to Island Cruises in late October. It will then enter drydock in Freeport, Bahamas, where it will undergo extensive refurbishment, including the addition of two restaurants, 59 staterooms and 50 balconies. The ship will enter service for Island Cruises in December in Brazil under a new name. The ship will sail from Brazil during winters and in the Mediterranean during summers.

Horizon joined the Celebrity Cruises fleet in May 1990 and was built by Jos. L. Myer GmbH & Co. of Papenburg, Germany. It was refurbished in October 1998. The 47,000 gross-registered-ton ship carries 1,700 guests and 642 crew members. Celebrity Cruises currently operates the ship primarily in Bermuda in summers and in the Caribbean in winters.

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New Carnival Valor First Cruise Ship to Offer 100% Bow-to-Stern WiFi Internet Access
Vessel Features Ship-Wide Wi-Fi ‘Hotspots’ Providing High-Speed Internet Access From Anywhere Aboard New 110,000-Ton ‘Fun Ship’

MIAMI – Carnival Cruise Lines' new cruise ship, Carnival Valor, which is making its U.S. debut in Miami today, is the first cruise ship to offer "100 percent bow to stern" wireless Internet access, providing guests unparalleled opportunities to surf the Web, check e-mail, and obtain stock quotes and news updates from anywhere aboard the massive 2,974-passenger SuperLiner. Carnival Valor sailed on its inaugural voyage Dec. 15. Unlike other cruise ships that have designated Wi-Fi hotspot areas, Carnival Valor will feature ship-wide wireless Internet capability, enabling guests to use laptop computers to access the Internet from every public area, including all lounges, bars and pool decks, as well as any of the ship’s 1,487 staterooms. 

“Wi-Fi is a huge consumer trend, appearing in more places than ever and Carnival Valor’s new ship-wide wireless Internet service offers our guests unprecedented convenience and connectivity at sea. This multi-million-dollar investment places Carnival at the forefront of this new technology,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. 

Carnival Valor’s new Wi-Fi system complements the ship’s Internet café, “The Web,” which provides guests with high-speed Internet connectivity via private flat-panel workstations. The new system works with any Wi-Fi-enabled laptop. Laptops and Wi-Fi cards are also available for rent on board for a nominal fee; charges apply for Wi-Fi connectivity. Carnival Valor’s new “bow to stern” Wi-Fi system is part of a pilot program that may be expanded to other Carnival ships, all of which currently feature Internet cafes and wireless Internet access in select areas. 

Carnival Valor debuted with a two-day Bahamas cruise Dec. 15-17, 2004, then begins year-round seven-day cruises from Miami, alternating weekly to the eastern and western Caribbean, Dec. 19.

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Crown Princess Keel Laying Celebrated in Italy
Ceremony Marks Beginning of Building Process for Princess' Newest Vessel 

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (December 10, 2004) - The keel laying ceremony for Crown Princess today marked the official start of the construction of the next Princess vessel. The festivities took place at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, where the ship is being built. The 113,000-ton vessel is scheduled to join the Princess fleet in Spring 2006. The first section of the ship was ceremoniously moved into the yard's building dock, where the 3,100-passenger ship will remain until float-out.

Crown Princess will introduce a number of new design innovations to the Princess fleet, including a dramatic new piazza-style atrium, new casual dining venues and expansion of some favorite shipboard areas. Within the new street café environment of the atrium, 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. Several signature Princess venues have been further enhanced, including an expanded Trattoria Sabatini with a new piano lounge area and the addition of pub fare to the trademark Wheelhouse Bar. A new Steak and Seafood restaurant expands on the Sterling Steakhouse concept with an open, theater-style kitchen where chefs will custom-prepare steamed shellfish and cooked-to-order steaks and chops.

The ship will also feature the many hallmark features that define the Princess experience, including nearly 900 staterooms with private balconies, multiple dining and entertainment options, Personal Choice Dining featuring traditional or Anytime seating, a two-story Lotus Spa with fitness center, an extensive children and teen's center, wedding chapel, and the dramatic Movies Under the Stars poolside movie screen. 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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Royal Caribbean Re-Launches Sovereign Of The Seas
Extensively Renovated Ship Makes Debut at Port Canaveral with New Balconies, Additional Dining and Entertainment Options 

MIAMI, Dec. 10 -- Royal Caribbean International's Sovereign of the Seas re-entered service on Monday, Dec. 13, after an extreme makeover that includes bow-to-stern renovations and several new entertainment and dining options. Sovereign, which offers year-round three- and four-night Bahamas cruises from Port Canaveral, also added 62 individual balconies on Deck 10, creating the ship's first balcony staterooms.

"Sovereign of the Seas was the world's biggest and most exciting ship when she debuted in 1988, and she has remained a favorite despite the introduction of new, larger ships," said Dan Hanrahan, senior vice president, Marketing and Sales, for Royal Caribbean International. "With her latest renovations, she is once again at the forefront of some of our latest concepts, such as our hot Latin lounge."

Entertainment is high-octane on the new Sovereign of the Seas. Boleros Latin lounge is sure to be the ship's hottest nighttime spot, with drink favorites from Brazil, Cuba and Central America, such as caipirinhas, mojitos and specialty tequilas, as well as dueling piano players and live Latin jazz performances. The newly refurbished Follies Theater features two musical production shows that take guests back in time with favorite songs throughout the ages. "Dancin' Thru the Movies" brings back classic movie soundtracks, including Dirty Dancing, Saturday Night Fever and The Blues Brothers. "Flashback" revisits '50s to '80s music with songs from legends from Elvis to Aretha to Prince. 

Sovereign serves up several new dining options, including a new casual dining concept, the Windjammer Marketplace, which builds on the line's Windjammer Cafe concept. Windjammer Marketplace features multiple self-service islands, each offering regional dishes. Initial island themes include Asian, Latin, Mediterranean and American/Eclectic. A cooked-to-order pasta station, carving station, deli, and soup and salad bar round out the Marketplace offerings. Above the Windjammer, guests can grab a slice at the new pizzeria, Sorrento's, or enjoy juicy hamburgers and thick shakes at the specialty restaurant, Johnny Rockets®, an all-American diner at sea. They also can sip specialty espresso drinks from Seattle's Best Coffee®, and sample their favorite flavors from Ben & Jerry's® at the sit-down Latte'tudes coffee shop and ice cream parlor.

Fitness buffs have everything they need for a full workout at the relocated and expanded ShipShape Fitness Center and Sovereign Day Spa. The new facilities feature a bigger gym with additional cardio equipment, and a full- service spa with a hair and nails salon and 11 treatment rooms, including a two-person room for couples.

Royal Caribbean's younger set now have more space just for them in an expanded Adventure Ocean Youth Program center. Teens can stake out their own turf in three exclusive areas -- the ultra-hip Fuel nightclub; a cool hangout lounge called The Living Room; and The Back Deck, a sun deck with an outdoor dance floor.

Guests needing to combine work and play have a new multi-purpose business complex, housing a conference center and business services office, to meet their meeting and communications needs.

Sovereign of the Seas offers three- and four-night Bahamas itineraries year-round from Port Canaveral, calling at Nassau and CocoCay. Through Royal Caribbean's Explorations! shore excursions program, guests going ashore can snorkel with stingrays or follow in the footsteps of pirates in Nassau, or wade into the many water sports at CocoCay - from parasailing, kayaking and snorkeling to a sun-filled day at Caylana's Castle Cove Aqua Park.

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SeaDream Yacht Club Receives Bah-Humbug Accolade
Six “Bah-Humbug Hideaways” Named For Year-End Holiday Escapes… Five Tropical Resorts and SeaDream

When Hideaways International, highly-regarded luxury travel club, announced its “Bah-humbug Hideaways” for this year-end holiday season, it picked five tropical resorts…and SeaDream Yacht Club, operator of the twin, mega-yacht cruisers, SeaDream I and II. Hideaways International’s choices for escaping the commercialization of the holidays were: Guana Island, in the Caribbean’s British Virgin Islands; Ikal de Mar on Mexico’s Caribbean shoreline; Little Palm Island, Florida; Peter Island, British Virgin Islands; Laluna, resort on the Island of Grenada; and SeaDream Yacht Club. Hideaways International had this to say about SeaDream: “In an era when other ships keep getting bigger and busier, SeaDream is charting its own course toward intimate, casual perfection. SeaDream emphatically calls itself a yacht club, not a cruise line.” 

On hearing the news Larry Pimentel, President and CEO for SeaDream Yacht, Club said “We are delighted that Hideaways International has honored us with this unusual and timely honor. Hideaways International is has been seeking out the world’s most exceptional escapes for more than 25 years. It obviously knows something about casual perfection.”

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Hapag-Lloyd Announces Its Official U.S. English-Language Website

Hamburg, GERMANY, Dec 2004 – Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, a subsidiary of TUI Group, the world’s largest tourism group, has just officially launched its U.S. English-language website: This year, Hapag-Lloyd began the process of introducing its fleet to the U.S. cruise market. Its ship EUROPA, notably, has been rated the #1 ship in the world by Berlitz Publishing’s annual Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships guide written by renowned cruise authority Douglas Ward. 

“As cruising has gained popularity in the U.S., Americans have developed sharpened tastes for a wide range of cruising experiences. More Americans hunger for new and unique cruising experiences,” says Sebastian Ahrens, Managing Director, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. “Certainly Americans who wish to experience the ‘Best of the Best’ should be given the opportunity to do so, which is why we have begun transitioning three ships in our fleet to be more ‘American-friendly.’”

Americans are now booking selected cruises on the EUROPA, HANSEATIC, and COLUMBUS. “Our goal is to provide bilingual cruises while still maintaining the flavor of the true Hapag-Lloyd experience, “says Ahrens. “We are not aiming to market another American luxury product with EUROPA, for example, but we are offering a German luxury ship with a distinct international flavor. That translates to something different than the standard international luxury cruise experience – namely ‘Old Europe’ sophistication and style.” 

The website provides the same information about Hapag-Lloyd ships that appears on its German-language website, including itineraries, company information, ship information, photographs, special tours information, and more, as part of Hapag-Lloyd’s efforts in the U.S. market. “This website will help American passengers become easily familiar with our bilingual ships and itineraries,” says Sebastian Ahrens, Managing Director, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

The English-language web address is:

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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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