News Archive - April 2001

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04-30-01 New Windstar Itinerary Windstar Cruises has announced that the 308-passenger Wind Surf will sail on one-week Bahamas/Key West cruises next year. The 10 scheduled sailing dates include March 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31, April 7, and December 8, 15, 22, and 29 of 2002. Sailing round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale to Salt Cay (with tours available to Nassau), Green Turtle Cay, Half Moon Cay, and Bimini, all in the Bahamas. The cruise finishes with a full day at Key West, Florida. The ship will make an overnight call to Half Moon Cay, a private Bahamian island (Little San Salvador) owned and operated by Windstar's parent company, Holland America Line. Back to Top

04-30-01 "Love Boat" To Leave Service The original "Love Boat", Pacific Princess, will be retired in the fall of 2002, according to Princess Cruises. The 20,636-ton Pacific Princess began sailing as the Sea Venture in 1972 and joined the Princess fleet in 1974. Her last season will be spent on the cruise line's popular New York/Bermuda cruises. Over the next three years, the Princess fleet will expand to include six additional vessels. Golden Princess, the 109,000-ton sister ship to Grand Princess, will launch next month.Back to Top

04-27-01 New Royal Olympic Ship Delayed Royal Olympic Cruises said that its newly built Olympic Explorer, which was due to start regularly scheduled sailings in early May, is being delayed. The company said it has asked the shipyard to make "a number of improvements" in the 25,000-ton, 836-passenger vessel before it takes delivery. Royal Olympic did not say what the requested improvements were, nor did it predict exactly how soon the new ship might be ready to start service. "The company is making adjustments to the Olympic Explorer's early voyages, and is in contact with its clients and agents informing them of possible variations to schedules and alternative options," a spokesman said. The ship was originally scheduled to operate seven-day Aegean and Adriatic cruises out of Athens and Venice through October. Back to Top

04-27-01 Weekend Cruise News *** Inaugural ceremonies will be held today in Miami for Carnival Spirit with the vessel being christened by Elizabeth Dole. Carnival Spirit is the first of a new class of vessel for Carnival. The inaugural voyage, April 29, is a 16-day Panama Canal cruise from Miami to Los Angeles followed by Alaska and Hawaii sailings. Godmother Elizabeth Dole has had an impressive career in public service and humanitarian work includes serving as Deputy Assistant to President Nixon for Consumer Affairs, a member of the Federal Trade Commission, Secretary of Transportation under President Reagan - the first woman ever to hold that position - , Secretary of Labor under President Bush and president of the American Red Cross.

***The Alaska cruise season gets underway this weekend with Norwegian Sky sailing from Seattle on Sunday followed by Norwegian Wind sailing from Vancouver on Monday. Both ships sail seven-night Inside Passage cruises for the season. RCI's Radiance of the Seas sails from Seattle on Monday on the first of a series of three and four-night cruises to Vancouver and Victoria through May 21 before commencing Alaska sailings from Vancouver for the summer. Over the next few weeks, the remainder of the Alaska cruise ships will arrive in Vancouver for their Alaska season. Crystal Harmony is the only ship sailing to Alaska round trip from San Francisco this year, commencing May 21.

*** Windstar Cruises is expanding its cruising regions to include the Bahamas and Southeast Asia in 2002. Wind Surf, the largest of Windstar's sail vessels at 14,745-tons, will reposition to Ft. Lauderdale for seven-night cruises to Salt Cay, Bahamas(tours to Nassau), Green Turtle Cay, (Abaco Island), Half Moon Cay (overnight on board), Bimini and Key West, from March 3 through 31, and Dec. 8 through Dec. 29, 2002. Wind Song commences Winter New Zealand cruises next December and will spend the summer of 2002 sailing between Singapore and Phuket, Thailand. Two different seven-night itineraries can be taken back-to-back for a 14-night cruise, July 3 through Oct. 9, 2002. Several sailings are scheduled between Singapore and Bangkok as well. Wind Song then repositions back to Auckland for Winter cruises in New Zealand.

***Norwegian Star, which commences sailing for NCL in Hawaii this December, will be designed for the line's Freestyle Cruising concept. Dining will be open seating in the two main dining rooms with a different menu in each. A la carte specialty dining in five small gourmet and ethnic restaurants will also be available. In all, there will be a total of ten restaurants on board including some with a cover charge. One crew member for every cabin will meet the service requirements of Freestyle Cruising. As well as an Internet cafe, every cabin will have Internet access on a digital flat screen monitor. As part of the new entertainment program, a series of lifestyle courses on board and ashore will be offered. Due to the legislation outlawing casinos on cruise ships sailing round-trip from Hawaii, the two planned casinos on board Norwegian Star will be replaced by a nightclub and an expansive shopping area. Another feature of Freestyle Cruising is the flexible disembarkation arrangements which make leaving the ship less regimented and more relaxed.

***Princess Cruises will once again have Libby Riddles as a special guest on board their ships during their call at Juneau, Alaska this summer. Riddles is the 1985 Iditarod dog sled race champion and first woman ever to win the famous race. Her informative and entertaining presentation and slide show takes passengers behind the scenes into the world of dog mushing and the annual Iditarod trek from Anchorage to Nome. Princess has a slate of onboard naturalists, park rangers and other local experts to entertain and educate passengers during their Alaska cruise. The educational Junior Ranger program, a joint venture between Princess and the National Parks Service, is available for children and teens aged 6 to 17.

***Cruise West recently acquired Temptress Adventure Cruises, a specialist in adventure-oriented voyages in Costa Rica. Cruise West has four Central American itineraries planned for the Temptress Explorer commencing November, 2001. A maximum of 100 passengers take part in each exploration voyage, under the direction of an Expedition Leader. Ashore, groups of 20 participate in guided educational tours focusing on the natural wonders of the region. Exploration voyages planned include Costa Rica & Panama for 8 nights; Costa Rica & Panama in depth for 11 nights, including San Blas Islands; Belize, Honduras & Guatemala for 7 nights including Roatan Islands, Honduras and Rio Dulce in Guatemala and in the summer of 2002, "Family Fun in the Sun" cruises in Costa Rica for 8 nights.

*** Holland America Line has scheduled a number of special lecturers on board its ships in the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Alaska, Europe and Mexico, as part of the University at Sea Program. Designed to create a more rewarding experience, passengers may also earn credits by attending classes during their cruise. The Personal and Professional Enrichment Program includes "Overview of 'Seven Habits of Highly Effective People;" a hands-on class in "Computers & Internet;" "Virtues of Aging;" and "Estate Planning, Taxation, Wills, Trusts and Ethics." Featured speakers include Howard Fineman, political reporter and commentator for Newsweek magazine and NBC television, Jonathan Pond, author of 11 books on personal financial planning and a contributor to several national publications and Dr. C. Everett Koop, former Surgeon General of the U.S. Course fees range from $129 to $695. Participants receive 12-18 hours of classroom time, complete course materials, appropriate credit registration, a certificate of attendance and a University at Sea shirt. Interested passengers should reserve their space in a course at least 60 days prior to sailing by contacting their travel agent. Back to Top

04-23-01 European Line Buys Crown Dynasty The Crown Dynasty, formerly owned by a subsidiary of Commodore Cruise Line, has been purchased by Europe's Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, and will join the company's fleet as the Braemar after a $75 million refurbishment. "The ship will join the company's other two luxury vessels--Black Watch and Black Prince--on worldwide cruise itineraries," a spokesman said. The new owners said that in bringing the ship up to the desired quality, they will convert a number of twin-bedded cabins to singles, reducing the passenger count to 750. The 19,000-ton Crown Dynasty entered service in 1993. Fred. Olsen Lines is represented in the United States by EuroCruises ( The overhauled ship is expected to start sailing as the Braemar this summer, although specific itineraries have not yet been released. Back to Top

04-23-01 NCL Star Inaugural Norwegian Cruise Line has announced the inaugural sailing of its newest ship, the 2,200-passenger Norwegian Star. The ship's first sailing will be Nov. 19, 2001, a 14-day voyage between Miami and Los Angeles. Departing on December 5, 2001, Norwegian Star will offer a 10-day cruise from Mexico to Hawaii, before beginning her scheduled deployment in the Hawaiian islands. In December, the ship begins year-round eight day voyages from Honolulu, to Kona, Hahaina (Maui), Nawiliwili and Fanning Island, with two sea days. Beginning January 6, 2002, cruise-only fares for Norwegian Star's year-round Hawaii cruises start at $999 inside/$1,199 oceanview. Back to Top

04-21-01 Special Chat Guest - Dean Brown Do you have questions about Princess Cruises' new "personal choices" dining program? Want a first-hand report on the new Golden Princess? Chat with Dean Brown, Princess Cruises' executive vice president of sales, marketing and customer service for the newest happenings at this cruise line. We're live Monday, 24, 9:00 pm EDT in CruiseMates' Chat Room. Back to Top

04-20-01 Weekend Cruise News ***Carnival Corporation is sending a Carnival ship to Europe for the first time as part of its plans to expand in Europe. The European development will also see Costa Cruises evolve into a pan-European rather than Italian cruise line. Costa's fleet will double in size by 2005 with the addition of CostaTropicale (formerly Carnival's Tropicale), CostaHomerica (currently HAL's Westerdam, to be transferred in Spring, 2002) and three newbuilds. Cruising in Europe has increased over the last ten years from nine percent of the total industry to 20.8 percent in 2001, according to CLIA, the Cruse Line International Association. Cruise ships in Europe in 2001 are expected to carry upwards of 1.3 million passengers, a 14 percent increase over 2000.

***Royal Olympic's Olympic Explorer is set to debut May 12 on seven-night Adriatic and Aegean cruises from Piraeus, the port of Athens. Sister ship to the Olympic Voyager, Olympic Explorer is 25,000-tons and carries 836 passengers. The unique monohull design makes these two sister ships the fastest cruise ships at sea with a maximum speed of 28 knots. This allows for longer time in ports visited. Olympic Explorer repositions from Piraeus to Ft. Lauderdale November 3 on an unusual voyage which takes her through Suez to islands in the Indian Ocean, East and Southern Africa, crossing the Atlantic from Cape Town South Africa to Rio de Janeiro then north to the Amazon, through the Caribbean to Ft. Lauderdale. From December 23, Olympic Explorer will sail from Ft. Lauderdale and Houston on several different itineraries including the Panama Canal, Orinoco River and five different Western Caribbean cruises calling at Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, Jamaica and Grand Cayman. The Spring transatlantic will sail from Houston to Piraeus for 26 nights, March 25, 2002.

***Costa Atlantica has scored a perfect 100 in an unannounced sanitation inspection in Ft. Lauderdale recently. The semi-annual inspections focus on 48 areas of sanitation including handling, preparation and storage of food; plumbing, spa and pool facilities; on board water supply; equipment maintenance and personnel. Ships must score 86 or above in order to pass.

***Carnival Spirit is offering 14 new excursions in Alaska this season. The new tours include leisurely paced land tours as well as thrilling, adventure excursions. Several of the offerings are snorkeling in Mountain Point Lake near Ketchikan, a catamaran cruise for evening whale watching in Juneau, a full day of Halibut sport fishing in Juneau, scenic helicopter flight combined with a ride aboard the historic White Pass Railroad and a four-mile hike along the Skagway River in Skagway and a semi-submersible sea life discovery adventure in Sitka.

***Cruise West continues its expansion to new regions with its newest vessel, Spirit of Oceanus which will sail several South Pacific voyages next winter from December through February. Sailing from Papeete, Tahiti and Suva, Fiji Spirit of Oceanus will visit the Cook Islands; Aitutaki; Palmerston Atoll; Niue and islands in the Tonga and Fiji chains before heading for Cairns Australia. See CruiseMates Cruise West Itineraries page for details.

***Visit Mardi Gras in New Orleans with Regal Cruises. The Regal Empress sails round trip from Port Manatee, near Tampa on February 9, 2002 on a seven night cruise spending two days in New Orleans for Mardi Gras then calling at Key West overnight and cruising Cay Sal, Bahamas.

***Princess Cruises' Alaska passengers have nearly 100 shore excursion options to choose from. Excursions can be booked online at by clicking on "Access Your Booking" and entering your reservation number. A special highlight of the Alaska season is the presence of Linwood Fielder, who placed second in this year's Iditarod dog sled race. Fielder was the first Alaskan to complete the 1,049 mile race in 10 days, three hours, 58 minutes and 57 seconds. He also traveled the furthest distance before taking his required 24-hour break for which he received a $3,500 prize and a five-course gourmet meal from the chefs of Anchorage's Regal Alaskan Hotel. Linwood Fielder hosts the "Glacier Panorama dog Sled Adventure" tour in Juneau which combines helicopter flightseeing, a glacier walk and a dog sled trek. It is one of the special VIP excursions in this year's shore excursion lineup for Princess. Back to Top

04-19-01 Disabled Lawsuit Settled Carnival Cruise Line will make its ships more accessible to disabled cruisers after settling a lawsuit filed by Access Now, a group representing disabled people. According to a Miami attorney, the Americans with Disabilities Act stipulates that four of every five cabins must have special facilities for the disabled. Access Now takes on other cruise lines, including Holland American, Costa Cruises, Celebrity, NCL and Royal Caribbean. Back to Top

04-17-01 Renaissance Africa Cruises Renaissance Cruises has announced 2001/02 Africa air/sea programs for its 114-passenger ships, the Renaissance VII & VIII. The 15-day programs include round-trip airfare from New York, a three night African Safari, eight-day Seychelles Islands cruise and two nights in Luxor Egypt. Scheduled Nov. 9, 2001 through March 1, 2002, the air/cruise/safari packages begin at $4,499 per person, double occupancy. Two repositioning voyages are also scheduled: The Oct. 23, 2001 17-day cruise from Athens to Mahe, Seychelles, visiting Crete, Greece; Oman, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, two days in Athens, three days in Egypt and two days in Mahe; fares begin at $2,499. the March 5, 2002, 22-day Seychelles-to-Rome cruise includes two nights in Mahe, Seychelles; three days in Egypt (Luxor, Cairo and Giza) plus port calls in Crete, Sicily and Naples, two nights in Rome. Reservations may be obtained from travel agents. For a brochure, call Renaissance Cruises at (800) 525-5350 or visit Back to Top

04-13-01 Weekend Cruise News ***Dawn Princess experienced engine trouble last Tuesday which delayed her arrival in Barbados by five hours. Engineers were able to fix the problem and the ship sailed in the evening for Antigua. Dawn Princess was carrying 2,100 passengers on a four-day cruise from San Juan to Trinidad, Barbados and Antigua.

***Norwegian Wind has completed a multi-million dollar refit designed to make her ready for NCL's Freestyle Cruising concept. Expanded seating in the Sports Bar and Grill (from 95 to 203), a redesigned casino and transformation of the Sun Terraces dining room into an Italian Trattoria are three major changes to the vessel. Norwegian Wind becomes the fourth in NCL's fleet to adopt Freestyle Cruising with its multiple dining options, expanded entertainment and gaming facilities and resort casual dress code.

***Carnival Spirit, set to debut April 29, is adorned with a multi-million dollar art collection by celebrated artists from around the world. Included in the collection is a series of 27 murals by Israeli artist Calman Shemi, 72 hand-made crystal items by Czechoslovakian glass artist Borek Sipek and a massive statue of Napoleon flanked by a pair of six-foot-high female figures by Italian sculptor Sergio Benvenuti. The pool areas feature a trio of giant six-foot-high bronze flamingos by Israeli artist Ilana Goor. The 88,500-ton 2,124 passenger Carnival Spirit is a new class of ship for Carnival and is the longest in the fleet at 960 feet.

***Golden Princess will be christened by actress Jane Seymour on October 12 in Ft. Lauderdale. The Golden Globe and Emmy ward wining actress has performed on Broadway, in movies and on television where she is best known for her six-year role as Dr. Quinn in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Winner of the 2001 Humanitarian Award from the American Red Cross, Ms. Seymour's commitment to philanthropic causes includes work as an ambassador for UNICEF and fund raising for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Golden Princess has successfully completed sea trials in the Adriatic Sea. The vessel reached a top speed of 23.5 knots during the tests. Golden Princess is on schedule for inaugural events and ceremonies which commence in Southampton, May 5. The 2,600 passenger vessel is sister ship to Grand Princess.

**Radiance of the Seas, the newest addition to the RCI fleet, features new GE gas turbine engines with azipod propulsion. The environmentally friendly system reduces emissions by 95% over conventional diesel engines, and cuts down on oily waste. In combination with the bow thrusters, Radiance is extremely maneuverable. Important for passengers is the vibration-free ride and very little space is required for the propulsion system allowing for more useable onboard space.

***Crystal Cruises has announced their Value Collection for 2002. The cruises, priced at more than 50% off regular prices, start as low as $1,995 per person, double occupancy for a 10-day voyage. Included in the specially priced sailings are Winter Panama Canal/Caribbean cruises, Spring sailings in Hawaii, Hawaii/Japan, Caribbean, transatlantic, Scandinavia/Russia and Asia/Pacific and Fall cruises in Alaska, transatlantic and Panama Canal/Caribbean.

***The Mississippi Queen celebrates her 25th anniversary this summer. Designed by well-known ship designer James Gardner, who also designed Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2, the riverboat was built for $27 million famous Jeffboat, Inc., formerly Howard Shipyard, in Jeffersonville, Indiana. The shipyard built more than 4,800 steamboats including the renowned J.M. White of 1878. Mississippi Queen's custom-built calliope, or steam-powered piano, is the world's largest with 44 gold-plated, solid brass pipes.

***Norwegian Cruise Line has organized shore excursions for children and teens in Alaska this summer. The excursions are part of the Kid's Crew program of supervised entertainment for junior cruises. The White Pass Train and bicycle tour, Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve Float Trip and Chilkoot Lake Eagle Cruise are available for kids 6 to 17 years of age.

*** Royal Caribbean International has introduced a collection of signature foods, seasonings, and sauces designed to capture the rich flavors of Royal Caribbean International's ports of call around the world. Created under the direction of Master Chef Rudi Sodamin they will be available onboard all ships in the fleet by July, 2001. RCI plans to eventually have them available through the line's web site and the Royal Caribbean catalogue. Back to Top

04-11-01 Carnival Takes Delivery of Spirit Carnival Cruise Line has officially taken delivery of the 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit. The ship will leave Kvaerner Masa-Yards in Helsinki, Finland April 12, arriving in Miami Tuesday, April 24. The 88,500-ton ship begins her inaugural season with a 16-day Panama Canal cruise departing Miami April 29. Carnival Spirit's inaugural season will be spent on week-long Alaska voyages, followed by two 12-day Hawaii cruises. First in the new "Spirit class" of Carnival vessels, the ship boasts the company's first wedding chapel, a reservations-only supper club and wrap-around promenade. Back to Top

04-11-01 Report On Cruise Ship Pollution The Associated Press has compiled a study of pollution by cruise ships in Florida and Alaska covering a nine-year period. Based on a Coast Guard database, in Florida there were 60 instances of cruise ship pollution -- both proven and alleged -- while Alaska, 26 reports have been file. The biggest offenders: Carnival Cruise Line's Ecstasy in 1992; Premier Cruise Line's Oceanic, which was cited five times in 1993, and Premier's Big Red Boat II in 1997. Back to Top

04-06-01 Weekend Cruise News ***Celebrity's Millennium is in drydock for repairs to repair an electric motor housed within one of the ship's two propulsion pods, located below the surface of the water in the stern of the ship. The motor is responsible for turning one of the ship's two propellers. The vessel returns to service in Ft. Lauderdale April 15 for a seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise followed by the final Western Caribbean cruise of the season. Millennium then sails for Europe for summer Mediterranean cruises.

***In a post-cruise survey of Crystal Cruises' passengers, the line's Alaska shore excursions earned the highest ratings of its worldwide programs. This season Crystal has organized 40 Alaska excursions including hiking, helicopter flightseeing, kayaking, river rafting, sportfishing and dog sledding. Crystal Harmony sails round trip from San Francisco on 12-night Canada/Alaska cruises from May 21, to August 13, 2001.

***Carnival Spirit will be christened by Elizabeth Dole, in Miami on April 27. The inaugural voyage, April 29, is a 16-day Panama Canal cruise from Miami to Los Angeles. Mrs. Dole's impressive career in public service and humanitarian work includes serving as Deputy Assistant to President Nixon for Consumer Affairs, a member of the Federal Trade Commission, Secretary of Transportation under President Reagan - the first woman ever to hold that position - , Secretary of Labor under President Bush. and president of the American Red Cross.

***The Columbia Queen sailed at near full capacity throughout its inaugural season. In service since mid-2000, the 161-passenger riverboat is operated by Delta Queen Steamboat Company. The Pacific Northwest vacations, sailing from Portland, Oregon, include a variety of shore excursions introducing passengers to the history and culture of the region. Cabins are colorfully decorated featuring pillows and blankets from world-famous Pendleton Woolen Mills in Pendleton Oregon. Passengers booking a cruise in selected staterooms for sailings in April, May and June will receive a free woolen blanket from the Pendleton Mills and a discount of $500. per person.

***Costa is offering a new golf program on board both CostaAtlantica and CostaVictoria Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. Passengers have the opportunity to take part in onboard golf clinics with a PGA golf pro, as well as 15, 30 and 60 minute golf lessons. The 30 and 60 minute lessons include a videotape so students can review their lesson once at home. The V-1 golf teaching computer onboard compares the player's swing to that of a PGA pro. While in port, putting competitions and golf tournaments are held at local golf courses including Mahogany Run in St. Thomas; Teeth of the Dog in Casa de Campo; Runaway Bay in Jamaica, Playacas Club de Golf in Playa del Carmen and The Links at Safe Haven in Grand Cayman. The onboard golf pros escort these excursions from the ship to the golf course. Equipment can be rented onboard.

04-04-01 Greece Airport Chaos If you're flying in or out of Athens, Greece, it may be a good idea to use an air carrier other than Olympic Airways. Since the new Athens airport opened last week, Olympic has announced massive delays and cancellations, up to 30 during a one-day period. Scuffles have been reported as passengers waited for hours, only to find their flights cancelled. Olympic Airline officials blame the problems on their computers and new systems being used. If you're flying out of the airport, expect delays: the new road between Athens and the airport is under construction, and is not due to be finished until just before the Olympic Games in 2004.

04-03-01 Renaissance: Big Passenger Policy Changes Renaissance Cruises has announced that it will allow smoking in limited, designated areas of its fleet of ten vessels and permit children aged two and older to sail. Both policies apply to new cruise bookings beginning April 2, 2001 and for sailings departing December 1, 2001 and beyond. Onboard the eight 684-passenger "R-Class" Ships, cigarette smoking will be permitted only in a section on the starboard side of the Horizons/Sports Bar and the starboard side of the outdoor Pool Deck. Onboard both 100-passenger "Renaissance-Class" Ships, cigarette smoking will be allowed only in a section of the starboard side of The Club and the starboard side of the Promenade Deck. Back to Top

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