- Oosterdam is Christened
- Weekend Cruise News 7-25-03
- Princess From Galveston
- Norway Update
- Weekend Cruise News 7-18-03
- Celebrity cancels July 22 Med cruise
- Carnival Glory Christened in Port Canaveral
- Island Princess Christened in Vancouver
- Weekend Cruise News 7-11-03
- RCI's Mariner Arrives Early
- New Carnival Ships
- Weekend Cruise News 7-4-03
- Back to CruiseMates News Archive
7-28-03 Oosterdam is Christened Confetti flew as Holland America Line officially dedicated the ms Oosterdam in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Tuesday, July 29, 2003. Posing for the paparazzi are from left, Captain Johannes van Biljouw, master of the 1,848-passenger Oosterdam; A. Kirk Lanterman, chairman and CEO of Holland America Line; Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of The Netherlands, godmother to the line's newest ship; Pieter van Vollenhoven, the princess' husband; and Micky Arison, chairman of Carnival Corp.
The lavish dockside ceremony was attended by more than 5,000 people, and capped a three-day celebration of Holland America Line's 130th anniversary in the city that was the Seattle-based line's original headquarters during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Oosterdam will sail Baltic and western Mediterranean cruises until November, when the ship will cross the Atlantic to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for a series of Caribbean cruises through the winter, Back to Top
7-25-03 Weekend Cruise News *** Carnival Cruise Lines has introduced children's dinners as part of its Camp Carnival program. The supervised meals take place from 6 - 7 p.m. in the ships' casual poolside restaurants. After dinner, children are welcome to participate in regularly scheduled "Camp Carnival" activities until 10 p.m., giving parents a chance to enjoy an evening to themselves. The new children's dinners are offered fleetwide. They are available nightly on three- and four-day voyages except for the first night of the cruise. On voyages of five days or longer, the dinners are available nightly except for the first and last night of the cruise. A different menu is featured each night including items such as spaghetti with meatballs, chicken quesadillas, hamburgers, hot dogs, roasted chicken drumsticks, pepperoni pizza, fish sticks, chicken nuggets, roasted turkey, and grilled salmon steak. Side dishes include French fries, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. A 35-item salad bar is also available. Desserts include assorted ice cream and seasonal fresh fruit.
*** Explorer of the Seas has assisted the National Hurricane Center by providing meteorological data about Hurricane Claudette. Explorer is the world's only cruise ship equipped with ocean and atmospheric science laboratories. The labs gave valuable 15-minute updates of surface winds on Hurricane Claudette as it grew from a tropical storm. The data was mentioned by NHC as a factor in locating the center of Claudette as it interacted with the Yucatan Peninsula. In readings taken east of Cozumel early on July 11, Explorer of the Seas recorded 50-knot surface winds when reconnaissance planes were unable to get a more reliable indicator that flight-level winds of 40 knots. During the 2001 and 2002 hurricane seasons, data from Explorer of the Seas was used in forecasting for Hurricane Michelle and Hurricane Isidore. Royal Caribbean's innovative, oceangoing research labs are operated by the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Each weekly voyage adds invaluable information on the variability of strong currents like the Gulf Stream, the distribution of chlorophyll, and seasonal changes in wind patterns and cloud cover that contribute to changing climate, and measurements that contribute to greater accuracy in satellite imagery.
*** Princess Cruises has added a new Panama Canal section to its web site. 'Destination: Panama Canal' provides informative text and photos, details on Canal history and how the locks work as well as links to Princess' itineraries and shore excursions. Visit the new feature at www.princess.com
*** Crystal Symphony was on hand for the gathering of the tall ships and the start of the 2003 Cutty Sark race in Gdynia, Poland last Monday and Tuesday. Crystal Symphony stayed overnight in the port of Gdansk during her 13-night Northern Capitals cruise from Amsterdam to London. About 100 sailing ships from around the world are registered for the event. The ships are currently racing from Gdynia to Turku, Finland where they will arrive on July 31. After sailing on to Riga, Latvia, the second race will take place from Riga to Travemunde, Germany on August 13. In each port city, special events and open houses are held around the ships' visit.
*** Celebrations for Holland America Line's 130th anniversary get underway this weekend in Rotterdam. The maritime festival is being held in the city where the line was founded in 1873. The highlight of the event will be the christening of the line's newest ship, Oosterdam, on Tuesday, by Princess Margriet of the Netherlands at the line's original pier. HAL's flagship of many years, Rotterdam V, is returning to the port of Rotterdam, where she was built in 1959, to serve as a hotel/convention center and museum honoring the history of Holland America Line.
*** The 170-passenger tall ship Star Clipper will return to her former homeport of St. Maarten for a series of seven-night Treasure Islands and Leeward Islands sailings next winter. The new itineraries, with convenient Sunday night departures, include calls in the harbors and secluded anchorages of St. Barts, Nevis, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Iles des Saintes, Antigua and St. Maarten (Leeward Islands) and Anguilla, Virgin Gorda, Norman Island, Soper's Hole, Jost Van Dyke, St. Kitts, St. Barts (Treasure Islands). Theme cruises on these sailings include "Health & Well-Being", "Jazz & Blues" or "Caribbean Discovery" and feature special menus, entertainment, cultural events and activities, sports and fitness routines, guest speakers, musical memories and theme-based island tours. For more details see your travel agent or the line's web site at www.starclippers.com.
*** Viking River Cruises 2004 season includes 3 new itineraries on the European waterways. The line will add the Ukraine as a destination next year on the new, 10-night, 'Footsteps of the Cossacks' cruise which sails round-trip from Kiev to the Black Sea, through the Ukraine along the Dnieper River. Another new 10-night itinerary, 'Treasures of the Rhine' sails between Antwerp, Belgium and Basel, Switzerland, aboard the new Viking Sky. The cruise explores the highlights of the Rhine including visits to Brugge, Amsterdam, Cologne and Heidelberg. The 14-night 'Eastern European Odyssey' has been revised. Sailing from Budapest along the Danube to the Black Sea and back to Vienna, or reverse, the new itinerary calls at Constanta, Bucharest, Belgrade and along the Black Sea coast. The new brochure will be available in August. For more on Viking River's 2004 dates and prices visit www.vikingrivercruises.com.
*** Silversea Cruises will send a ship to Alaska for the first time in 2004, the line's 10th anniversary year. Silver Shadow will sail from San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver and Anchorage on Alaska seven- to 14-day Alaska cruises. Shadow will visit Japan in April and May, prior to the Alaska season. The four Japan cruises range from nine to 14 days in length. Three departures will include calls at China and Russia. Silversea will also offer five new Australia/New Zealand itineraries in January and February. Silversea's Silver Sailings program offers up to 55 percent savings on some 2003 and 2004 cruise-only fares. Details of the new itineraries will be available in August.
***Seabourn Cruise Line has special savings on its Panama, Belize and Costa Rica sailings aboard the all-suite Seabourn Legend. Two-week cruises departing November 22nd from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and December 6th, 2003 from Caldera (San Jose), Costa Rica now offer free economy class airfare from 28 North American gateways, in addition to Early Booking Savings up to 50 percent with fares starting from $3,998 per person. The same itineraries, departing in 2004 on January 3rd and January 31st from Florida or January 17th and February 14th from Costa Rica, offer Early Booking Savings up to 40 percent and fares from $4,995 per person. For more details see your travel agent or visit www.seabourn.com. Back to Top
7-23-03 Princess From Galveston Princess Cruises has announced that it will home port the Grand Princess in Galveston, TX, for seven-day western Caribbean cruises between November, 2004 and April, 2005. At 109,000 tons, it is the largest ship to sail from Texas. The route features stops at Belize, Costa Maya (Mexico), Grand Cayman and Cozumel. In 2004, Princess will increase its Caribbean capacity by 75%. The new 3,100 passenger Caribbean Princess will sail to the Eastern Caribbean from home port Ft. Lauderdale. Star Princess will also join the Caribbean fleet sailing to the Eastern and Western regions on alternating seven day itineraries from Ft. Lauderdale. Back to Top
7-23-03 Norway Update Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that it's former flagship, the S/S Norway, will be out of service for at least 12 months, as the company evaluates the feasibility of repairs. Originally NCL said the ship would return to service Oct. 5, 2003. Back to Top
7-18-03 Weekend Cruise News *** Oosterdam will be christened by Princess Margriet of the Netherlands in Rotterdam on July 29. The christening will be the highlight of a three-day festival celebrating the 130th anniversary of Holland America Line which was founded in Rotterdam in 1873. Oosterdam will be berthed at the original company pier, bow to bow with the line's flagship, the 1,316-passenger Rotterdam. Princess Margriet also dedicated the Rotterdam, in a ceremony at Ft. Lauderdale in 1997. The 1,848-passenger Oosterdam is the line's second Vista-class ship. Like sister ship Zuiderdam, Oosterdam features a spacious design for public areas and staterooms with 85 percent of cabins having ocean views, 67 percent of those with verandahs.
*** Celebrity's Summit left Seward last Sunday, two days later than scheduled, and is having to skip Juneau to make up time on this week's cruise. Summit spent the time in Seward undergoing repairs to damage caused by an incident at Hubbard Glacier. The ice is the thickest in years at Hubbard. On July 9, a chunk of ice carrying huge rocks is believed to have gouged a 10-ft. long hole in Summit's starboard side and created a 140-foot crease along the hull. The damage occurred in an area that covers a midship ballast tank and did not threaten passenger/crew safety or cause any pollution. Summit arrived at Seward on Friday. Passengers lived on board and visited Seward and the surrounding area while the ship was repaired. The Coast Guard gave Summit the ok to sail at 3:30pm Sunday. At the time of the incident, Summit was under the command of a local pilot. An investigation into the incident is underway.
*** Cunard Line celebrated the keel laying of Queen Victoria last Saturday at Fincantieri's Marghera yard near Venice. The 85,000-ton ship is the second largest ship ever built by the line and the first to be built in Italy. Queen Victoria is scheduled to enter service in April 2005, during Cunard's 165th anniversary year and 15 months after Queen Mary 2. She will operate cruises to the Mediterranean, Caribbean and South America. Queen Victoria was originally destined for Holland America Line as one of the Vista-class vessels. Some design modifications are being made but she does have many of the same features including a covered wrap-around promenade deck, a forward-facing observation lounge, a large Lido pool with a retractable roof and exterior and panoramic elevators over 10 decks on both sides. Like QE2 and QM2, the liner will have a Queens Grill offering single-seating gourmet dining, in addition to the grand Aquitania Restaurant. There will also be a unique Colonial Restaurant on Deck 11 with panoramic views. Queen Victoria will have a contemporary British feel with two British design teams being responsible for her interiors. The wide range of accommodations includes large standard outside cabins (170 sq ft) and a high percentage of balcony cabins (67%).
*** Oceania Cruises reports a highly successful inaugural voyage. One week into Regatta's first cruise in the Mediterranean, passengers have already written letters and e-mails to express how much they are enjoying the on board experience. At least 80 have booked future cruises. The new cruise line was created to present the finest cuisine at sea, exceptional personalized service, grand style, and luxurious accommodations offered at an affordable price.
*** The success of the Star Seeker talent competition has prompted Norwegian Cruise Line to launched the "Junior Star Seeker" program for passengers ages 5 to 17 years old. Winners will have the chance to perform on an NCL ship as part of a professional variety show. The Junior Star Seeker program is offered as part of NCL's Kids' Crew program. The on board Kids' Crew youth coordinator will arrange auditions. The selected contestants will have a chance to perform for their fellow passengers with a performance in one of their ship's showrooms. The three-minute routine will be judged by the ship's hotel and cruise directors, plus a musician and a guest performer from the ship's entertainment staff. The judges will select winners based on each performer's entertainment value and the audience's reaction. Individual winners will receive a specially designed Junior Star Seeker trophy, and a videotape of their performance will be sent to NCL's shore side headquarters for review by the entertainment department. NCL will then select one winner to perform a "special spot" as a featured entertainer aboard a future NCL cruise.
*** Windstar Cruises has created a web site dedicated to the line's "Romance Under Sail" program. Windstar's casual luxury, romantic sails and exotic itineraries have made it a popular honeymoon and anniversary destination since its inception, averaging ten honeymoon and anniversary couples a week. "Romance Under Sail" features a selection of Celebration Packages including a fully customizable wedding and vow renewal program that can be purchased pre-cruise by family, friends or the couples themselves.
*** The new CostaMediterranea will join sister ship CostaAtlantica for sailings from Ft. Lauderdale next winter. Both ships will sail 16-night transatlantic positioning cruises from Genoa, Italy to Ft. Lauderdale this fall. CostaMediterranea sails November 5, calling on the ports of Barcelona; St. Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands; Barbados; St. Lucia; Antigua; St. Maarten; Catalina Island and Nassau. CostaAtlantica departs on December 5, calling at Marseille, France; St. Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands; Barbados; St. Lucia; Antigua; St. Maarten; Tortola and Freeport, Bahamas. Costa is offering special rates with savings up to 45%. Fares start at $1,149 per person double occupancy. Pre-cruise packages in Genoa or Nice/Monte Carlo begin at $99 per person, double occupancy and include hotel accommodations, transfers, continental breakfast and hotel porterage. See your travel agent for more details.
*** The small ship adventure specialist, Cruise West, has Christmas and New Year's celebrations planned for the holiday season. Festivities are celebrated according to local Latin customs during cruises to Mexico's Sea of Cortes, departing Cabo San Lucas, December 20 and La Paz, December 27, as well as Costa Rica-Panama, departing Los Sue�os, Costa Rica, December 20 and Col�n, Panama on December 29. The nine-night "Between Two Seas" voyage, aboard Pacific Explorer, links the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Costa Rica and Panama via the Panama Canal, calling at island and mainland beaches, historic Spanish forts, wildlife preserves and jungle national parks. In Mexico's Sea of Cortes, seven-night voyages aboard the 102-passenger Spirit of Endeavour sailing out of La Paz hug the coast of the Baja Peninsula. Highlights include visits to remote beaches, islands and wildlife areas, with a port call at the town of Loreto, the 18th-century capital of the Californias. Both ships are equipped with inflatable launches, enabling fast and frequent transfers to remote beaches, national parks and other locales where adventure-seeking travelers participate in beach activities or join nature and wildlife-viewing hikes of their choice.
*** Ship buffs will be sorry to hear that ss OceanBreeze has been sold to a breakers company. The classic vessel was built in 1955 at Harland & Wolff in Belfast, Ireland, builders of the Titanic, and was the first passenger ship to sport an aft funnel. Originally named Southern Cross she sailed the Britain-Australia run for many years before being becoming a cruise ship, most recently sailing Bahamas cruises for Imperial Majesty Cruise Line of Ft. Lauderdale. OceanBreeze has been replaced at Imperial Majesty by another classic, the Regal Empress formerly of Regal Cruises which went into bankruptcy in April. Back to Top
7-16-03 Celebrity cancels July 22 Med cruise Celebrity Cruises has canceled the Millennium's July 22 Mediterranean cruise to make an emergency repair to a thrust-bearing unit in the ship's propulsion system, a task that requires the vessel to go into drydock. Passengers booked on the 11-night Barcelona-to-Venice voyage will get full refunds and a free cruise of up to 12 nights departing on or before December 15, except for holiday sailings. Celebrity created a special help desk for passengers and travel agents affected by the cancellation, at 1-877-200-2897. The ship is expected to resume its regular schedule on August 2. Back to Top
7-13-03 Carnival Glory Christened in Port Canaveral Astronaut Sally Ride Christens Glory Click for pic Carnival Glory was christened Monday at naming ceremonies in Port Canaveral. Astronaut Sally Ride is the ship's godmother. A pioneer in space travel, Dr. Ride became the first American woman in space when she was part of the crew that piloted the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983. She was also part of the crew of the shuttle's 1984 spaceflight. Glory is currently sailing on a special five-day pre-inaugural cruise to Mexico. Following this voyage the vessel will launch year-round seven-day Caribbean service from Port Canaveral commencing July 19, becoming the largest ship ever based at that port. The 110,000-ton, 2,974-passenger ship is the 19th in Carnival's fleet and the second enlarged-Destiny-class ships, a sister ship to Carnival Conquest which began sailing from New Orleans last December. Carnival Glory features a variety of on-board amenities and facilities, including 22 "themed" lounges and bars with striking interiors that offer dramatic interpretations of different colors. Of the ship's 1,487 staterooms, 60 percent offer an ocean view with 60 percent of those featuring private balconies. Back to Top
7-13-03 Island Princess Christened in Vancouver Naming Ceremony on Deck Click for pic Vancouver's first cruise ship christening was a glittering success on Friday as Island Princess was named beside the sails of Canada Place. Against the spectacular backdrop of the north shore mountains, Godparents Jamie Sale and David Pelletier broke a magnum of B.C. bubbly over the teak deck, poolside. Sale and Pelletier, are the Olympic Gold Medalists in Pairs Figure Skating from the 2002 Salt Lake City games. It was timely to have the pair name the ship as Vancouver was awarded the 2010 Winter Olympic Games just last week. The event continues the good relationship shared between Vancouver and Princess Cruises for more than 30 years. Princess is committed to using Vancouver as a homeport for its four ships offering Gulf of Alaska sailings in the years to come. During the event Actor Gavin McLeod who played Captain Merrill Stubing on the popular Love Boat TV series commented that the original Island Princess used Vancouver as a home port 30 years ago. One of the ships used in the filming of the TV show, the old Island Princess was 20,000-tons, carrying 610 passengers and had seven decks. The new Island Princess is 92,000-tons, carries 1,970 passengers and has 16 decks, a reflection of the evolution of the Princess ships which are now palatial and offer a much wider array of entertainment, dining options and stateroom accommodation. For more photos and a video of the naming ceremony, visit the Princess web site at www.princess.com. Back to Top
7-11-03 Weekend Cruise News *** Island Princess has arrived in Vancouver and will be christened during naming ceremonies tonight, the first time a ship has been christened in the port. The event continues a long-standing relationship between Princess and Vancouver which the line has used as a homeport for 34 years. Canadian Olympic gold medalists in pairs figure skating at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, will name the ship during the gala event. The choice of godparents turned out to be very appropriate as Vancouver was awarded the 2010 Winter Olympic Games last week. Island Princess sails her maiden Alaska cruise tomorrow. The 92,000-ton ship features the same vast array of public rooms found on the larger "Grand-class" ships but spread over two decks and with only 1,970 passengers. Tonight's ceremony includes a specially created regional menu, bubbly from B.C.'s Summerhill Pyramid Winery and entertainment by the renowned Dal Richards Orchestra.
*** The Canadian Coast Guard's Marine Search and Rescue Unit will present a certificate of appreciation to Royal Caribbean International's Radiance of the Seas in recognition of the ship's recent rescue of three Canadian fishermen. Radiance answered the distress call on June 13 at 5 a.m. by heading full speed to the Silver Bounty in Hecate Strait, off the Queen Charlotte Islands. The three Canadian fishermen were clinging to the side of their nearly sunken boat which had gone down in 40-knot winds and 12-foot seas. A rescue boat was lowered and the fishermen pulled on board. The fishermen were dried, clothed, and treated by the ship's medical staff for hypothermia and the ingestion of saltwater and diesel fuel. That afternoon, they were transferred to a Canadian Coast Guard vessel and returned to land at the Canadian Coast Guard station at Port Hardy, B.C. "I congratulate the Radiance of the Seas crew for their heroic rescue efforts," said Jack Williams, president and chief operating officer of Royal Caribbean International. "It is an honor to have those efforts recognized by the Canadian Coast Guard. This rescue serves as an excellent example of the masterful seamanship behind all the ships in our fleet. Because of the bravery and skill of our personnel, three lives were saved." The presentation will be made in a brief ceremony this Saturday, while the cruise ship is docked at Ballantyne Pier in Vancouver. Captain John Palliser, superintendent of Marine Search and Rescue, with the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria, B.C. will make the presentation to Captain Kent Ringborn, Master of Radiance of the Seas, who will accept the certificate on behalf of his ship.
*** Cruise ships bypassed Cozumel, Belize and Grand Cayman yesterday and today as Tropical Storm Claudette passed through the area. Voyager of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas, Carnival Conquest, Inspiration and Paradise altered their itineraries when the Tropical Storm Warning and Hurricane Watch were issued by the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
*** Caribbean Princess was successfully launched last Monday at Fincantieri's Monfalcone yard. Due to sail year-round in the Caribbean from March 17, 2004, Caribbean Princess is an enlarged, Grand-class ship. The 116,000-ton vessel will carry 3,100 passengers. One unique feature will be 'dive-in movies' poolside. Plans for an even larger ship, based on the same design, are continuing with the Ultimate Carnival-Princess project projecting a 170,000 to 180,000-ton vessel in the future.
*** Norwegian Cruise Line held job fairs in Honolulu this week in order to hire staff for its new NCL America project. The line will send three U.S. flagged and U.S.crewed ships to the Hawaiian Islands in 2004. Pride of America and Pride of Aloha (currently sailing as Norwegian Sky) will sail around the islands on seven and three/four day cruises respectively without having to call at a foreign port. NCL America will train new hires in dedicated training programs and on the line's other Freestyle Cruising ships within the fleet. More job fairs will be held on neighboring islands in the near future.
*** Ketchikan has received the go ahead for the first phase of its new cruise project. The facility is Alaska's largest cruise development and will eventually provide seven cruise berths for the Inside Passage port. Seven public hearings in Ketchikan approved the plan and the city has now committed $28 million to the first phase which includes the construction of a floating pier to provide berths for two of the largest cruise ships. By 2005 the three existing berths will be expanded to accommodate a total of four mega-ships.
*** The all-suite, 208-passenger Seabourn Pride will host a Great American Food & Wine Festival on a 13-day cruise from New York to Nassau, departing October 25, 2003. During the cruise, passengers will enjoy onboard cooking demonstrations by guest chefs including Charlie Palmer of Aureole in New York and Las Vegas, kitchen 22. Chef Todd Gray of Equinox in Washington, D.C., also will participate. Signature dishes created by the guest chefs will be featured on menus in the ship's open-seating Restaurant and the casual alternative Veranda Cafe, and the ship will host wine tastings featuring vintages from some of America's most prestigious vineyards. The cruise itinerary includes calls at Newport, R.I.; Philadelphia; Baltimore; Alexandria, Va. (for Washington, D.C.); Yorktown (for Williamsburg); Charleston; Savannah and Port Canaveral. Optional tours and visits to local growers and purveyors, green markets, historical sites and other culinary attractions are available. Seabourn has savings of 50 percent off the published rates, fares for the 13-night cruise with fares starting from $5,132 per person, based on double occupancy of a 277-square foot ocean view Seabourn Suite.
*** Holland America has a Verandah Upgrade Special in effect for next winter's Caribbean sailings aboard Zuiderdam and Oosterdam. Book by August 31, 2003 and receive a free upgrade from an outside stateroom to a Deluxe Verandah Outside or from a Category A Deluxe Verandah Outside stateroom to a Superior Verandah Suite. Both ships sail seven-day Eastern and Western cruises round trip from Ft. Lauderdale with departures from Jan. 3 through April 11, 2004. See your travel agent for more details and to book.
*** Clipper Cruise Line and tour operator INTRAV will offer journeys and voyages in South America from August through October. Taking advantage of the calm weather during springtime in the Southern Hemisphere, tours range from a brand-new coastal cruise from Peru to Chile aboard the 122-passenger Clipper Adventurer, to an exploration of the highlights of South America that includes the sacred ruins at Machu Picchu and the wildlife-rich Gal�pagos Islands. Clipper Adventurer features 61 all-outside staterooms, window-lined common areas, and a large forward observation platform for viewing the coastline, wildlife, and fjords of South America. The ship boasts the Clipper Club, a library, a small gym, gift shop, and beauty salon. Naturalists and other experts accompany each South American voyage. For more see the line's web site at www.clippercruise.com.
*** Star Clippers will launch new itineraries between Rome and Venice in 2004. Beginning July 17, 2004, the 227-passenger tall-ship Royal Clipper will sail the Med on ten-night (Venice to Rome) and eleven-night (Rome to Venice) cruises calling at ports in Italy, Sicily, Greece and Croatia. Cruise-only fares start at $2,295 per person. The one-way cruises can be combined for a 21-night cruise.
*** Icy Strait Point is Alaska' newest cruise port with RCI and Celebrity ships already booked to make 33 calls in 2004. Icy Strait has long been a Mecca for adventure travelers because of its abundant marine life. Only one cruise ship per day will be allowed to visit this wilderness area. The new cruise port will be situated 22 miles west of Glacier Bay, near the Tlingit community of Hoonah. Already 15 excursions have been organized including brown-bear spotting, whale-watching at Point Adolphus and fly-in fishing tours. Passengers will tender ashore to visit the historic fish cannery where they can enjoy cultural shows, learn about the area, sample local cuisine and shop for Native art and souvenirs. Mercury is scheduled to make the first call on May 11, 2004. Back to Top
7-10-03 RCI's Mariner Arrives Early Royal Caribbean International's new 3,114-passenger Mariner of the Seas will debut Nov. 16, 2003, a week earlier than originally scheduled. The fifth ship in RCI's "Voyager" class will be the largest ship to sail from Port Canaveral. The new inaugural voyage will visit Nassau, San Juan and St. Maarten. Mariner of the Seas will begin her regularly scheduled, year-round itineraries on Nov. 23, sailing alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises. Back to Top
7-10-03 New Carnival Ships Carnival Cruise Lines' newest ship, the 110,000-passenger Carnival Glory, arrives in Port Canaveral, Fla., July 11 and will make its maiden voyage Monday, July 14. The company also announced that construction has begun on the new 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor, scheduled for delivery in December, 2004. Back to Top
7-4-03 Weekend Cruise News Regatta Christened in Barcelona Click for pic *** Seven new ships and one new cruise line are being celebrated at inaugural events this summer. Celebrations are underway with three events taking place over the last week:
- Regatta was christened in Barcelona, June 26, marking the official beginning of Oceania Cruises. The new line was formed in 2002 by industry veterans Frank Del Rio and Joe Watters as a five-star cruise experience with the best in class cuisine, and destination-rich itineraries offered at great value. Regatta's Godmother, Marcia Del Rio paid homage to the dedication and hard work of all those involved prior to releasing the traditional magnum of champagne against the ship's hull. Following previews this week, Regatta embarks upon her inaugural voyage tomorrow, July 5, 2003.
- Crystal Serenity was christened Thursday in Southampton by English actress, Dame Julie Andrews when she released the cord and sent a custom-made six liter bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal champagne crashing against the hull of Crystal's newest ship. Serenity will depart on her maiden voyage July 7, round-trip from Dover, circling Britain with additional calls in Norway and at Copenhagen. Fitting out of the vessel is not complete and will continue during the cruise. The 68,000-ton, 1,080-passenger Crystal Serenity is the largest vessel in Crystal's three-ship fleet. She was built at Chantiers de l'Atlantique in France. Serenity will sail worldwide itineraries for Crystal including the 2004 world cruise.
- Minerva II is being christened today on the Thames, in the heart of London, against the dramatic backdrop of Tower Bridge. Soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is the Godmother of Swan Hellenic's new ship which entered service in April. Minerva II is the former R8 of Renaissance Cruises, now sailing destination-focused voyages world wide for Swan Hellenic.
- Upcoming naming events include Island Princess, in Vancouver, July 11 by Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, Olympic Gold Medalists in pairs figure skating at the Salt Lake City games; Carnival Glory in Port Canaveral, July 14 by Astronaut Sally Ride; Oosterdam in Rotterdam, July 28-29; Paddlewheeler Empress of the North, in Seattle, August 2.
*** Water levels on the Mississippi have subsided, allowing Carnival Conquest to return to her original homeport of New Orleans for weekly Western Caribbean cruises starting July 13. High river levels combined with low hanging power wires caused an unsafe situation in the spring, forcing Carnival to move the ship to Gulfport on March 9. The final cruise from Gulfport will sail July 6.
*** The S/S Norway is under tow en route to Europe from Miami. The journey is expected to take another two weeks to complete. NCL has not announced which shipyard will repair the serious damage caused by a boiler explosion, May 25, 2003. Norway is out of service to October 5, 2003.
*** Crystal's Creative Learning Institute debuts aboard Crystal Serenity this month and expands to Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony in 2004. The program is offered in collaboration with leading learning institutes. Classes vary from ship to ship and cover subjects from arts & entertainment, business & technology, lifestyle, wellness and wine & food. They include music and art lessons, language classes, Tai Chi, floral and interior design, computer classes and more. Classes are complimentary. The wellness courses are offered by The Cleveland Clinic and Tai Chi Cultural Center.
*** Holland America has re-deployed the Maasdam to Norfolk, Virginia from Ft. Lauderdale next winter for 10 and 11-night, Caribbean cruises. Maasdam's 10-night Eastern and 11-night Southern Caribbean sailings are scheduled from January 20 to April 13, 2004 and from October 30 to December 22, 2004. Ports of call on the 11-night cruises are Half Moon Cay, Holland America's private Bahamian island, Tortola, Dominica, Barbados, Guadeloupe and St. Thomas. The 10-night Eastern Caribbean sailings call at San Juan, St. Maarten, Antigua and St. Thomas. The cruises replace Maasdam's previously announced Southern Caribbean and Canal cruises from Ft. Lauderdale.
*** Princess will return to Whittier as a homeport for all Gulf of Alaska sailings in 2004. A new dock facility is being constructed in the picturesque port, situated on Prince William Sound. The new facility features a 20,000-square foot passenger terminal and a floating dock. Passengers will have a scenic, 65-mile drive or rail journey en route to Anchorage from Whittier. "We are very excited ... to bring our ships back to Whittier, the place where Gulf of Alaska cruising started," said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. "Thanks to several new developments -- the opening of the Anton Anderson tunnel in 2000 and now the construction of this new facility -- Whittier has again become an attractive option for cruise ship operations. Combined with Whittier's close proximity to the gateway of Anchorage, these new factors convinced us the time was right for a move." Coral, Island, Sun and Dawn Princess will sail between Vancouver and Whittier between May 8 and September 13, 2004.
*** Peter Deilmann Cruises will welcome a new ship, MV Heidelberg in March 2004. The 110-passenger vessel will offer the most deluxe accommodations in river cruising on the Rhine and Moselle rivers and on the Main-Danube Canal with large outside cabins of 190 square feet and full-length French doors on two decks. The ship's English-speaking staff will provide a high level of service with one crew member for every 2.5 passengers, about twice the number of crew of similarly sized competitive vessels. A medical doctor will be on every voyage. The Heidelberg will return the Deilmann fleet to ten ships, seven in the five-star category. For more information visit www.deilmann-cruises.com
*** Adventure cruise specialist, Cruise West, is offering free air on some Costa Rica/Panama Canal sailings of the Pacific Explorer. Free air from Houston, Dallas and Miami is offered to passengers booking any of three Central America departures -- the nine-night "Between Two Seas" (Costa Rica and Panama), November 6 and 15, and the December 6 sailing of the seven-night "Gems of Costa Rica,". Fares start at $1,995 per person. Rates are reduced $150 per person when cabins are booked and paid in full three months before departure. For more details see your travel agent or call Cruise West at (800) 888-9378. Visit the line's web site at www.cruisewest.com
*** Celebrity's expanded enrichment lecture series is one part of the line's new series of brand enhancements, including such amenities as frosty towels, sorbet and fashion shows poolside; a new Sushi Cafe, pasta and pizza bar; sunset yoga and Pilates classes, and an entirely new category of plush accommodations, "ConciergeClass." These special guests will share their experiences with passengers on the following sailings:
*** History buffs will be interested in Delta Queen Steamboat Company's cruises celebrating the Lewis and Clark bicentennial. Seven weeklong and one 4-night "Lewis and Clark Experience" themed cruises on the Upper Mississippi River will be capped off with a day in Alton, Ill. where the famed explorers' Corps of Discovery expedition started in 1803. The trips feature intensive lectures on the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the Louisiana Purchase by the boats' on board Riverlorian, special films and documentaries, and mounted maps and documents referencing the Corps of Discovery and Louisiana Purchase. Seven-night cruises depart July 18, Sept. 20 and Oct. 4 aboard the Mississippi Queen; and July 19, Aug. 2, Oct. 5, and Oct. 19 aboard the American Queen. The four-night cruise departs September 9 aboard the Mississippi Queen.
*** For the first time Radisson Seven Seas is offering mini-segments on Seven Seas Mariner's 56-night "Grand Circle South America," sailing this Fall. The cruise, which sails from San Francisco to Ft. Lauderdale, departs Oct. 17, 2003 and is now available in combinable 18- and 19-night cruise segments as well mini-segments as short as nine nights. The three mini segments include San Francisco to Puntarenas (Costa Rica), 11 nights, October 17 with optional embarkations in Port Hueneme or Los Angeles for 10- and nine-night itineraries; Valpara�so (Santiago de Chile) to Buenos Aires, 13 nights, November 10 and Rio de Janeiro to Fort Lauderdale, 13 nights, November. 29. Fares for the mini-segments start at $2,999 per person.
*** Oceania Cruises' 2004 Europe schedule includes sailings aboard the Regatta and Insignia in the Baltic and Mediterranean. Insignia debuts April 3, 2004, on a gala 10-day inaugural voyage from Barcelona to Athens, calling at Marseille, Monte Carlo, Portofino, Florence, Rome, Sorrento, Taormina and Valletta. Sailing a diverse range of itineraries, passengers may custom build their own "Grand Voyages" by combining up to three individual itineraries without repeating ports of call. She will sail a spring season of Mediterranean voyages before summering in the British Isles, Norwegian Fjords and the North Cape with autumn sailings in the Black Sea, Greek Isles and Mediterranean. Regatta returns to Europe for her second season of cruises to Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. Regatta will spend an unprecedented three full days in St. Petersburg, Russia on Baltic sailings.
*** Princess has announced Panama Canal and 'sampler' cruises for 2004-2005. Coral Princess will once again offer 10-Canal cruises round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale from October 11, 2004 to April 17, 2005 calling at Belize City, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Limon in Costa Rica. Regal Princess will offer a series of 15-day Grand Canal sailings between Ft. Lauderdale and either Los Angeles or San Diego. Ports of call include Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Puntarenas, Cartagena, Aruba, and Ocho Rios in addition to a full transit of the Panama Canal. Sailings depart between November 24, 2004 and April 8, 2005. San Diego departures sail November 24, December 9, 2004 and March 24, April 8, 2005. Princess will also offer Grand Panama Canal sailings on spring and fall positioning cruises of Sun, Dawn, Coral and Regal Princess.
Short coastal cruises offer the chance to sample 'Personal Choice Cruising'. One to six day cruises are available in 2004-2005:
- Diamond Princess, six nights, September 19, 2004, Vancouver to Los Angeles calling at Victoria, Seattle, San Francisco and Santa Barbara.
- Diamond Princess, four nights, May 4, 2004 and May 3, 2005, Vancouver to Seattle, with a call Ketchikan.
- Island Princess, Sept. 18, 2004 and Sapphire Princess, Sept. 20, 2004, three nights, Vancouver to Los Angeles.
- Diamond Princess, May 1, 2004 and April 30, 2005, Island Princess, May 4, 2005 and Sun Princess, May 3, 2005, three nights, Los Angeles to Vancouver
- Sun Princess, three nights, round-trip from Vancouver, May 6, 2005, calling at Victoria and Seattle.
- Coral Princess, May 12, 2005 and Dawn Princess, May 14, 2005, two nights, San Francisco to Vancouver
- Diamond Princess, Sept, 18, 2004 and Sapphire Princess, Sept. 19, 2004 one night, between Seattle and Vancouver.