News Archive - March2001

03-30-01 Weekend Cruise News ***Residents of Ketchikan, Alaska have voted against levying a $5 fee on cruise ship passengers. The town of 8,500 on Alaska's Inside Passage expects to welcome 650,000 cruise passengers in 2001. Activists and town officials are concerned with noise from sightseeing flights, the environmental impact of cruise ship visits and the congestion caused by so many cruise visitors. However, Ketchikan residents voted 2,165 to 1,225 against the fee. Other Alaskan ports have also considered levying a fee on cruise passengers. Alaska's capital city of Juneau approved a $5-per-passenger fee for the 2000 season but voted last fall against restricting sightseeing flights on weekends.

***Seattle-based small-ship operator Cruise West reached an agreement to acquire Fort Lauderdale-based Temptress Adventure Cruises, a specialist in adventure-oriented voyages in Costa Rica, according to Sandra Herrell, Temptress' vice president of marketing. Under the agreement, Temptress will close its Fort Lauderdale office, with Cruise West taking over Temptress' sales, fleet operations and reservations systems.

***Carnival has completed the implementation of staggered dinner seatings on all its ships. "Total Choice Dining" gives passengers a selection of dining room seatings at 5:45 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 8 p.m. or 8:45 p.m. In addition, poolside lido eateries will be converted into Seaview Bistros between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. each evening, offering buffet dinner with no reservations or advance notice required. The flexible dining system brings with it a new tipping policy of pre-paid gratuities. The amount of $9.75 per person, per day will be levied on credit cards when passengers check in. The amount may be adjusted upward or downward by the end of the cruise at the discretion of the cruiser.

*** P&O's Oriana achieved a perfect score of 100 from the U.S. Public Health Authority when she called at Honolulu on her current world cruise. Oriana previously scored a 99 in New York last September.

***The CostaTropicale (formerly Carnival's Tropicale) is now in drydock at the Mariotti Shipyard in Italy, undergoing a $25 million refurbishment to transform her into a Costa style vessel. CostaTropicale will enter service on June 9, 2001, sailing a seven-night itinerary from Venice through November. The weekly cruises depart on Saturdays calling at Bari, Italy; Katakolon, Santorini and Mykonos, Greece; Kusadasi, Turkey and Dubrovnik, Croatia.

***Crystal Cruises has planned a number of music, arts, health/fitness and murder mystery theme cruises for 2002, in addition to the line's popular "Crystal Food and Wine Festival" cruises. Crystal will also be visiting Rio de Janeiro during the famous Carnival and Edinburgh, Scotland for the Military Tattoo.

***Spanish tour operator, Pullmantur, purchased Premier Cruise Line's Oceanic earlier this month. The 1,170-passenger ship had been docked in Freeport, Bahamas since Premier's bankruptcy last fall. The investment firm of DLJ and privately owned Progress Group, which jointly held the mortgage to Oceanic, still have the former Premier ships, Big Red Boat III (formerly the IslandBreeze) and Rembrandt (formerly Holland America Line's Rotterdam) for sale. Progress is also offering the Big Red Boat II (originally the EugenioCosta) for charter or sale. Back to Top

03-28-01 Holland America to lose Westerdam Gain a ship, lose a ship: Carnival Corporation continues to shift vessels between its subsidiaries. Last week, the company said it will transfer Seabourn Cruise Line's Seabourn Sun to Holland America's fleet next spring. And now Carnival announced that at about the same time, it will move HAL's Westerdam to its Costa Cruises unit. The combined switch means a net loss of capacity for HAL, since the 15-year-old Westerdam can carry almost twice as many customers as the 758-passenger Seabourn Sun. Carnival said the Westerdam will maintain its planned HAL schedule through next winter's Caribbean sailings. Then it will go into a brief drydock before the move to Costa and a new slate of Mediterranean cruises beginning in June 2002. The Westerdam was built in 1986 for the late Home Lines as the 1,000-passenger Homeric. Holland America acquired the ship in 1988, and the following year sent it back to the shipyard for a 130-foot "stretching" that increased its capacity to 1,494 passengers. Back to Top

03-28-01 HAL's Music Theme Cruises Holland America has announced the musicians and entertainers who will be performing on board Big Band and Sock Hop theme cruises in 2001 and 2002. The Harry James Orchestra, Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and Guy Lombardo's Royal Canadians are among the Big Bands appearing on transatlantic cruises. The five and eight day Sock Hop cruises are held on board the Westerdam. Special guests scheduled include Bobby Rydell, Bobby Vee, The Platters and The Crystals. Here is a complete list of Holland America's music theme cruises for 2001 and 2002:


  • Big Band, Sammy Kaye Orchestra - Amsterdam transatlantic Ft. Lauderdale to Rome, April 8, 2001
  • Big Band, Peter Jacobs and the Wartime Radio - Noordam transatlantic Tampa to Lisbon, April 15, 2001
  • Big Band, Harry James Orchestra - Rotterdam transatlantic from New York, April 27, 2001
  • Big Band, Guy Lombardo's Royal Canadians - Amsterdam from Copenhagen to New York, Aug. 22, 2001
  • Big Band, Tommy Dorsey Orchestra - Volendam, Southern Caribbean from Ft. Lauderdale, December 12, 2001.
  • 50's Sock Hop - Westerdam, five and eight-day Caribbean, January 6 through April 13 and October 27 through December 16, 2001:
    • Oct. 27, eight days, Little Anthony & The Imperials, Diamond Dave Somerville and TV actors Barry Livingston (Ernie from "My Three Sons) and Cathy Garver (Cissy from "Family Affair").
    • Nov. 4, five days, Bobby Rydell, Diamond Dave Somerville, and TV actor Paul Petersen (teen idol Jeff Stone on "The Donna Reed Show") and another TV star (to be announced).
    • Nov. 9, eight days, Bobby Vee, The Crystals and two TV stars (to be announced).
    • Nov. 17, eight days, The Crystals and singer Lenny Welch.
    • Nov. 25, five days, The Platters and Johnny Tillotson.
    • Nov. 30, eight days, featuring Johnny Tillotson and Bowzer & The Stingrays.
    • Dec. 8, eight days, Bowser & the Stingrays and The Happenings.
    • Dec. 16, five days, The Happenings and The Dixie Cups.


  • Big Band, - Westerdam eight-day cruises from Ft. Lauderdale, Nov. 1, 2002, (the Harry James Orchestra) and Dec. 13, 2002, (orchestra to be announced.)
  • Big Band cruises ranging in length from 12 to 16 days are scheduled aboard six spring and fall transatlantic cruises aboard the Noordam, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Orchestras for specific sailings have not yet been announced.
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03-27-01 CruiseWest's New Itinerary from Seattle CruiseWest will send its newest vessel, Spirit of Oceanus, to Seattle in September for new seven-night Pacific Northwest Cruises. Sailing round trip from Seattle, ports of call are Victoria, Vancouver, Desolation Sound, Campbell River, Alert Bay and Port Angeles with an included tour to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. Departures are on Mondays, from September 3 to October 1, 2001. CruiseWest is promoting the cruises by offering a $400. per couple discount on cruises paid in full by June 1, 2001. Back to Top

03-24-01 Seabourn Sun To Holland America Carnival Corporation, which owns Holland America and Seabourn Cruise Line, will move the 758-passenger Seabourn Sun to Holland America's fleet. Seabourn Sun will enter dry dock in April 23, 2002 at the end of her world cruise, and embark on its maiden voyage from New York to Europe as a Holland America ship in early June, 2002. Initial cruising areas in 2002 and 2003 include Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Back to Top

03-24-01 Weekend Cruise News

*** Radiance of the Seas has arrived in Miami. Royal Caribbean International's newest vessel is the first of a new class of ships. At 90,090 tons, Radiance is much smaller than the 142,000-ton Voyager and Explorer of the Seas but still offers a wide variety of entertainment, activity and dining options. Unique features include the first billiards room at sea, more glass than any other RCI ship, all-glass elevators facing the sea, internet ports in every staterooms and every crew cabin. Radiance is the first cruise ship with environmentally friendly vibration-free, smokeless GE gas turbine engines. Naming ceremonies will be held April 6 in Ft. Lauderdale. The inaugural Panama Canal voyage, April 7 will be followed by Pacific Northwest mini-cruises from Seattle and summer in Alaska. Radiance will be one of the largest cruise ships to ever sail in Alaska when she commences seven-night Inside passage cruises from Vancouver May 26.

***Radisson Seven Seas Mariner was christened in Ft. Lauderdale on Wednesday. The 50,000-ton Mariner is the first all-balcony, all-suite vessel to be built.

***Golden Princess, the newest addition to the Princess Cruises fleet, will arrive in Southampton May 5 for 11 days of inaugural activity. Sister ship to Grand Princess, the 2,600 passenger vessel has ten different restaurants and eating areas, including three dining rooms. Entertainment facilities include a nine-hole putting green and virtual reality golf simulator. Golden Princess will sail 11-night Mediterranean cruises between Barcelona and Istanbul for the summer.

***Crystal Harmony's Club 2100 nightclub will be transformed into a jazz venue for the New York to San Juan positioning cruise, Oct. 10, 2001. Vocalist Rene Marie, the swing trio of Bruce Barth and bassist Rufus Reid will be aboard as special guests to celebrate the American jazz tradition. Author Dr. Paul Tanner, who was a trombonist with Glenn Miller, Les Brown and others, will talk about jazz history and its Southern roots. The 11-night cruise calls at Hamilton, Bermuda; Charleston, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia and Nassau.

***Costa Cruises has made Internet access available on board CostaAtlantica and CostaVictoria with the addition of Internet Cafes. Using 17" flat screen computers passengers can use the Internet and send e-mail and electronic postcards. The Internet cafes are located in the library on CostaAtlantica and in the Teen's Center on CostaVictoria. Internet access is also available in selected suites on board CostaAtlantica with laptop computers available for rent from the Passenger Services office.

***Two new Las Vegas revues are being created for Carnival Spirit which debuts April 29. "SRO (Standing Room Only)" and "High Spirits" will employ Spirit's sophisticated technical equipment in a presentation filled with special effects and elaborate sets and costumes. "SRO" features highlights from Broadway shows while "High Spirits" presents a variety of 20th century musical styles. The revues will be presented in the three-deck, Egyptian styled show lounge, Pharaoh's Palace which seats 1,200.

***Princess Cruises is adding CNBC broadcasts to their television system at sea to offer passengers the latest stock reports and business news. The live satellite service is scheduled to join the Princess fleet this month.

*** Orient Lines will get a third ship in the summer of 2002, the 37,012-ton Ocean Voyager. Originally constructed in 1982 as Hapag-Lloyd's Europa, the vessel has sailed in Asia since 1999 as Star Cruises' SuperStar Aires. While itineraries are yet to be announced, Orient executives said that Ocean Voyager will sail on year-round world-wide voyages, perhaps even a world cruise. Ocean Voyager will carry 650 passengers. Single seating dining will be offered in the ship's main restaurants and Ocean Voyager's lido restaurant will also offer bistro dining at night. Cabins range from 150 to 420 sq. feet in size; there are no staterooms with private balconies.Back to Top

03-16-01 Weekend Cruise News *** Personal Choice Dining will be available on board Sun Princess, Sea Princess, Dawn Princess and Ocean Princess beginning with this year's Alaska season. This innovative program offers passengers the choice of two dining styles; traditional cruise dining with a set dining time (6:30pm and 8:30pm) and the same waiter and tablemates each evening or new restaurant style seating allowing passengers to dine when and with whom they like. With restaurant style dining, each party will be seated at their own table rather than with other passengers, as they would at a restaurant on land. Personal Choice Dining is offered in the dining rooms between 5:30pm and midnight. Other dining choices on board the sun-class ships include a 24-hour restaurant, a pizzeria, the new Sterling Steakhouse , patisserie, hamburger and hot dog grill, sushi bar and 24-hour room service.

Regardless of which dining style is chosen, a gratuity of $6.50 per person per day is automatically appled to shipboard accounts. This is for the dining staff only. Passengers may add or reduce this amount at any time, if they so choose.

***Carnival Spirit is on schedule to debut April 29 for cruising in the Caribbean, Hawaii, Panama Canal and Alaska. The 88,500-ton vessel carries 2,124 passengers and is a new class of ship for Carnival. Among the many innovations on board are "Family-Friendly" amenities in conjunction with the "Camp Carnival" kids program. A 2,400 sq.ft. enclosed play area called the "Fun House" contains an arts and crafts center, a computer lab with educational and video game software and an all-ages play room with a variety of toys and games and a video wall showing movies and cartoons . The Techno Arcade with video and arcade games is found one deck below together with an outdoor play area. The four different swimming and splashing pools are heated for the Alaska season. Along with Alaska themed activities and child-oriented dining options, the expanded facilities are expected to double the number of kids on the Alaska cruises compared to five years ago.

***Crystal Cruises has expanded its Computer Universtiy@Sea program to include in-stateroom 24-hour Internet and e-mail access. Passengers can rent an onboard laptop computer for $5.00 per day. Internet access is also available at the computer lab which houses 25 workstations. Group and private computer instruction is available from between three and nine instructors depending on the length of the cruise. Classes include basic computer instruction through more advanced topics of mastering spreadsheets and manipulating digital images. Passengers are able to access their own Internet e-mail service while on board, or they can use the personal e-mail address Crystal issues every passenger for use with the ship's e-mail service.

***Seabourn Pride is one of a handful of cruise ships, able to navigate the Thames River to London where she sails under Tower Bridge and docks nearby. Seabourn Pride sails a "Bonny British Isles" cruise from London, August 20-September 3 which includes an overnight stay in Edinburgh, Scotland during the famous Military Tattoo. The cruise continues to Invergordon, Scotland; Derry, Northern Ireland; overnight on board in Dublin, Ireland; Waterford, and Cork Ireland and Guernsey in the Channel Islands before returning to London.

*** Renaissance Cruises continues to expand its cruising regions with new exotic itineraries later this year. In November R2 heads for South America , R5 sails in Australia and New Zealand while the Asia program expands with both R1 and R8 sailing 15-night cruises between Hong Kong and Singapore. R6 commences new Caribbean cruises between Aruba and Barbados in December.

***Holland America Line has added exclusive kids and teens rooms on Maasdam which sails in the Caribbean year-round. Called KidZone and WaveRunner, the new kids and teen areas are built on the upper Sports Deck around the funnel of the Maasdam. Home to the Club Hal kids program, facilities in the new rooms include computers with software and games, large screen TV and viewing area, VCR, DVD player and audio system. While KidZone has a game area, WaveRunner includes a dance floor with lighting and fog system. The Club Hal activity program entertains children from ages five to 17. Back to Top

03-15-01 Carnival: Vouchers to Past Passengers Carnival Cruise Lines has promised to issue vouchers to more than 4 million past passengers as part of the settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed against the company. The line said it would issue vouchers with a face value of $25 to $55 to everyone who sailed on its ships between April 19, 1992 and June 4, 1997. The class-action lawsuit alleged that the cruise line artificially inflated its so-called "port charges" during that period, charging amounts that exceeded its actual costs for docking fees and other legitimate port service costs. The vouchers can be applied toward the cost of a cruise, or exchanged for cash at 15 to 20 percent of face value. Back to Top

03-15-01 Princess Adds Outdoor Steakhouses Princess Cruises said it is expanding dining options on four of its ships this month with the opening of new outdoor steakhouses. The facilities--called Sterling Steakhouse--will be on the Sun Princess, Dawn Princess, Sea Princess and Ocean Princess. They'll be located in a sheltered deck area overlooking the pool on each vessel, and will be open from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Passengers will be able to pick their own cuts of meat from a selection of rib-eye, New York strip, porterhouse and filet mignon steaks. Also available: barbecued chicken, side dishes and desserts. Back to Top

03-14-01 Stella Solaris: Back in Business Royal Olympic Cruises said that after a three-month project of repairs and improvements, its Stella Solaris will resume passenger service April 6, operating seven-day Greek Islands and Turkey itineraries out of Athens (Piraeus) through October 26. The 628-passenger ship will depart on Fridays, calling at Istanbul with an overnight stay followed by visits to Kusadasi (Ephesus), Patmos, Mykonos, Rhodes, Heraklion (Crete) and Santorini. Back to Top

03-14-01 KD River: 2 New Vessels KD River Cruises of Europe has taken on two new river cruisers, the Viking Pride and Viking Europe, and will use them for two-week itineraries on the Rhine and Danube rivers. Both are 150-passenger vessels with all-outside cabins, glass-walled dining room and observation lounge, library, gift shop, sun deck and covered leisure deck. The Viking Pride will operate a dozen 15-day sailings between Amsterdam and Budapest from May through October, priced from $2,798 to $3,778 per person, double. The Viking Europe will offer 13-day Amsterdam to Vienna itineraries, with 14 departures from May through October priced from $2,498 to $3,278. The company is at Back to Top

03-09-01 RCI Gets Radiance Royal Caribbean International accepted delivery today of Radiance of the Seas, the first of its Radiance-class of ships. The 90,090-ton vessel will depart this Sunday from Amsterdam, en route to the Port of Miami. Her arrival is scheduled for 9 a.m. on March 21, 2001. One-third smaller than the recent Voyager-class vessels, Radiance of the Seas is designed to sail world itineraries to Alaska, Hawaii, the Panama Canal, Pacific Northwest and the Caribbean.

Some of the unique features aboard the 2,100-guest Radiance of the Seas include the first ultra high-tech, self-leveling pool tables on a cruise ship, and a retail bookstore with coffee shop. The ship boasts more glass than any other Royal Caribbean ship. There is an African-themed Solarium with 15-foot elephant waterfalls, and a futuristic disco with a revolving bar. Dining options include a Chops Grill steakhouse and Portofino, an Italian restaurant.

A preview cruise will introduce travel agents, media and cruise industry professionals to the new ship on March 24 to March 26 at the Port of Miami. This event will be followed by a series of one-, two- and three-night revenue cruises, which will be offered to the general public between March 26 and April 4. The naming ceremony will take place on April 6, at 5:30 p.m. at Port Everglades, with the ship's godmother, Margot Pritzker, wife of Thomas J. Pritzker, chairman of the Hyatt Corporation and member of the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Board of Directors. The 14-night maiden voyage, a Panama Canal cruise, will depart on April 7, from Port Everglades.Back to Top

03-9-01 Weekend Cruise News *** SuperStar Libra will be renamed Norwegian Star when she joins the NCL fleet next December to replace the Norwegian Leo for Hawaii cruising. The 2,220 passenger Norwegian Star is designed for Freestyle Cruising however, due to the legislation outlawing casinos on cruise ships sailing round-trip from Hawaii, the two planned casinos on board will be replaced by a nightclub and an expansive shopping area. Currently under construction at Meyer Werft Shipyard at Papenburg, Germany, Norwegian Star is scheduled to begin 7-night Hawaii cruises commencing December 16, 2001, calling at the islands of Oahu, Hawaii, Maui, Kauai and Fanning Island, Republic of Kiribati in Micronesia. Passengers will have the option of starting and ending their cruise in either Honolulu, Oahu or Lahaina, Maui. Passengers already booked on the Norwegian Leo, or who book before March 31, will be re-booked on Norwegian Star in higher grade cabins. Sister ship Norwegian Dawn joins the NCL fleet in December 2002.

***Orient Line will acquire the SuperStar Aries from parent company , Star Cruises in 2002. Renamed Ocean Voyager, the 650-passenger vessel will specialize in long, worldwide itineraries. This will be Orient Line's third ship in addition to the Marco Polo and Crown Odyssey. Originally built in 1982 as the Europa for Germany's Hapag- Lloyd Cruises, the 37,000-ton SuperStar Aires currently sails in Asia for Star Cruises.

***Crystal Cruises' third ship is scheduled to enter service June, 2003. The as yet unnamed 68,000-ton vessel will be the largest in Crystal's fleet carrying 1,080 passengers. All staterooms and suites will be outside , 85% with private balconies. New features onboard include a sushi bar in addition to the Asian and Italian alternative restaurants characteristic of the Crystal fleet, a much enlarged Computer University@Sea classroom and the Palm Court/Vista lounge on the top deck with floor-to-ceiling 360 degree panoramic windows.

***Celebrity's new Infinity is currently on her inaugural voyage, a 14-night Panama Canal cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego. The 91,000-ton vessel will sail the first Hawaii cruises for Celebrity before heading to Vancouver for the Alaska season. Infinity's formal naming ceremony is scheduled for April 29 in Los Angeles.

***Renaissance Cruises' newest vessel, R8, sailed from Southampton, England, March 4 on a 61-day inaugural cruise. The 700-passenger ship was fully booked for the voyage to South America, the Panama Canal and back to England. R8 will sail in Europe for the summer then head for Asia in October. The new vessel features four restaurants with open seating, a world-class spa and eight lounges, clubs, and bars.

*** Silversea Cruises has announced details of this year's Musical Arts series . The classical music theme cruises will take place on board Silver Cloud, August 3-12, sailing from Rouen to Copenhagen and Sept. 30-Oct. 10 from Casablanca to Monte Carlo; Silver Wind, August 14-28 from Monte Carlo to Venice and Silver Shadow Sept. 7-19, from Genoa to Athens. On board and shore-side concerts and lectures highlight these sailings. For 2001, Russian pianist Alexander Ghindin, clarinetist Michel Lethiec and members of the Florida Grand Opera will be featured on board performers . They will be joined by lecturers Thomson Smillie and Justin Moss. Shoreside events include performances by the London Mozart Players with Russian soprano, Maria Fontosh and The Italian ensemble, Interpreti Veniziani will perform Maestro di Cappella in baroque costumes and a baroque setting.

***Delta Queen Coastal Voyages will reposition their two new vessels to Mexico and Costa Rica for winter cruising. The 226 passenger Cape May Light and Cape Cod Light will sail destination focused cruises from December through March on two different itineraries: The "Reefs, Ruins and Relics" seven-night cruise/vacation sails between Canc´┐Żn, Mexico and Puerto Cortes, Honduras while the "Rainforests, Rituals and Rios" ten-night cruise/vacation sails from San Jose, Costa Rica to Panama City. Cape May Light and Cape Cod Light enter service May 5 and August 4, respectively for summer cruising in Canada, New England and the Colonial coast.

03-08-01 Joe's Stone Crabs to be Served on New Carnival Ship Carnival's new Carnival Spirit, due to start sailing April 29, will feature the first shipboard location to offer stone crabs from Miami Beach's renowned restaurant, Joe's Stone Crab. Carnival said the crabs will be a highlight of the menu in the Nouveau Supper Club, the Spirit's specialty restaurant. The 156-seat facility is the first reservations-only restaurant in the Carnival fleet. It will have a bandstand and dance floor. The 2,124-passenger Spirit is the first in a new class of Carnival ships.Back to Top

03-08-01 Crystal: All Staterooms Have Internet All staterooms and penthouses on Crystal Cruises' Harmony and Symphony are now wired for dial-up Internet access, the line announced. Passengers can rent laptop computers on the vessels for $5 a day and keep them in their cabins. Laptops are equipped with Microsoft Windows and can be used to create and read e-mail and access the Internet. Of course, Internet access is also available in the ships' computer labs, each of which has more than 25 computers. Crystal also assigns each passenger a personal e-mail address. Web surfing on the ships costs $1.25 a minute, with a 10-minute minimum. Back to Top

03-08-01 Man Overboard! A passenger was rescued about 25 miles southeast of Freeport, Bahamas Wednesday morning after falling off the Sovereign of the Seas. The unidentified passenger was reported missing around 2 a.m. Wednesday morning. When a complete search of the vessel was unsuccessful, Sovereign turned around and retraced her route. The Coast Guard was notified and sent a helicopter to join the search. Around 9:30 am the passenger was found by a smaller vessel and taken on board. There has been no report of the passenger's condition or of the events surrounding the incident. Royal Caribbean International's 73,000-ton Sovereign of the Seas carries 2,276 passengers on three and four-night Bahamas cruises from Port Canaveral year 'round. Back to Top

03-07-01 Zuiderdam and Oosterdam Holland America Line will name the first two ships of its new "Vista" series of new 85,000-ton cruise ships the ms Zuiderdam and ms Oosterdam, taking their names from the south and east "Vista" points of the compass and including the "-dam" naming tradition used for the company's passenger ships since the late 19th century.

The first ship to be delivered in September 2002, the Zuiderdam, will be deployed first on seven-day Caribbean cruises, then on seven-day cruises in Alaska.

The Vista-class ships feature exterior elevator located on both sides of the vessel and vertically transversing 10 decks. The ships also include a wide range of accommodation categories. Fully 85 percent of the staterooms feature an ocean view, with 80 percent of those offering private verandahs.

The ships also will offer a new "cabaret-style" show lounge and a new three-deck main show lounge, a disco, a casual "round-the-clock" cafe, an Internet cafe, the largest spa facilities in the HAL fleet, Internet/e-mail data ports in all staterooms, an extensive Club HAL children's facility with inside and outside play areas, a concierge lounge for the exclusive use of Penthouse and Deluxe Verandah Suite guests and two interior promenade decks.

The five 1,848-passenger ships are under construction by Italian shipyard Fincantieri shipyard near Venice, Italy, and are scheduled to be delivered in September 2002, July 2003, January 2004, September 2004 and May 2005. The five ships will increase Holland America's lower berth capacity by 9,240, or 70 percent, to a total of 22,588.Back to Top

03-05-01 Almost 1,000,000 New Cruisers in 2000 Nearly 6.9 million North Americans enjoyed cruising in 2000, an increase of 992,000 cruisers -- or 16.8 percent -- over the previous year, according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). The is the largest single jump in passengers carried since the industry began reporting numbers in 1980. It more than doubles the previous high water mark set in 1986, when some 472,000 additional cruisers set sail.

The increase in passengers also outstripped the capacity growth during last year, with 11 percent new berths added to the North American cruise fleet. The industry capacity utilization was in excess of 90 percent.Back to Top

3-3-01 Weekend Cruise News *** Royal Olympic Cruises has announced that it's newest ship, Olympic Explorer, will be delivered in May, 2000 on schedule. Sister ship to the 836-passenger Olympic Voyager, the new vessel will have more cabins with balconies. From May through Oct. 29, 2001, Olympic Explorer will offer unique 7-day Aegean and Adriatic itineraries sailing roundtrip with embarkation in either Piraeus (Athens), Greece, or Venice, Italy. Ports of call include Corfu, Greece; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Nafplion, Greece; Dardanelles Strait (cruising); Istanbul, Turkey; Mykonos and Santorini, Greece. Pre- and post-cruise hotel stays are available in both Athens and Venice. Passengers also have the opportunity to combine an Olympic Explorer sailing with an Olympic Voyager "Three Continents" cruise for a 12- to 14-day cruise.

*** Royal Celebrity Tours has taken delivery of the world's largest glass-domed rail cars. Called Wilderness Express, the rail cars will be employed between Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska, by the new company, the land-tour division of Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises. The new rail cars are unique with the most dome glass of any double-deck rail cars in the world, 360-degree viewing platforms, extra wide seats that recline and rotate, onboard dining and facilities allowing physically challenged travelers to access both decks. Rail tours are offered in conjunction with the Glacier Route cruises of RCI's Rhapsody of the Seas and Celebrity's Mercury.

***Seabourn Cruises has announced that the company will return to the policy of offering free wines and spirits as part of a new amenities program on board Seabourn Pride, Spirit, Legend, Goddess I and Goddess II. Additional amenities include "Random Massage Moments" complimentary mini-massages on deck and around the ship) and upgraded suite amenities will be standard on these vessels , In addition, commencing in 2002, each passenger will receive one complimentary shore event during their cruise.

***Cunard will celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Queen Mary on QE2 transatlantic crossings, May 3 and June 6, 2001. The line is offering these crossings at the 1936 fare to passengers who sailed on the Queen Mary's inaugural voyage.

***Silversea's new Silver Whisper sails July 2 on a 14-day gala inaugural voyage from Rome to London, calling in Barcelona, Gibraltar, Casablanca, Lisbon, Oporto, La Coruna, St. Malo and Honfleur. The 28,258-ton, 382 guest all-suite ship is sister to Silver Shadow which entered service last September. Following the summer season in Europe, Silver Whisper will sail across the Atlantic, to Colonial America, the Caribbean, Panama Canal, and Gulf of Mexico before heading to South America in December.

***Crystal Cruises' Alaska sailings from San Francisco will feature guest stars from the worlds of food, wine and culture. Television figure, Larry King, will be on board the August 1 sailing of Crystal Harmony. Wine importer and authority, Bartholomew Broadbent, president of the Guild of Master Sommeliers, Fred Dame and director of wine & spirits for the Beverly Hills Hotel, Elizabeth Schweitzer are among the notable experts on the food and wine cruises June 2, 14, 26, July 20, August 1 and 13, 2001. Guest chefs for these sailings include Alan Wong of Alan Wong's Honolulu, Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys, San Francisco, Jean-Louis Palladin of Napa Restaurant, Las Vegas and television personality and cookbook author Jacques Pepin.

03-02-01 NCL Revenue Up Norwegian Cruise Line's revenue increased 15% to $970.7 million compared to $844.2 million in 1999 due to higher yield and added capacity, according to the February 27, 2001 earnings report issued by NCL's parent company, Star Cruise Group. Occupancy increased $1.9% to 100.2% and net per diem were up 2.8%, resulting in yields increasing 5.6% year on year.

The company also announced plans to sail SuperStar Libra in Hawaii instead of Super Star Leo as previously announced. The 91,000-ton 2,300 passenger Libra is designed for Freestyle Cruising. Currently under construction at Meyer Werft Shipyard at Papenburg, Germany. She is scheduled to begin year-round, 7-night Hawaii cruises commencing December 16, 2001, calling at the islands of Oahu, Hawaii, Maui, Kauai and Fanning Island in Micronesia.

According to Colin Veitch, NCL's President and Chief Executive Officer, "The combination of Star and NCL has brought about tremendous fleet deployment synergies. We are currently planning to locate SuperStar Libra, the 2,300 lower berth ship to Hawaii. This replaces the previous plan to deploy SuperStar Leo to Hawaii. Libra is a brand new ultra-modern ship and purposed built for freestyle cruising in the North American market. In addition with planned delivery of SuperStar Scorpio in the fall of 2002, NCL will have both Libra class ships operating in North America under the Norwegian Cruise Line brand. Together with the Norwegian Sky and the Norwegian Sun (due for delivery in August 2001), this redeployment will dramatically change the profile of NCL fleet and at the same time continue to maintain our competitive edge."

03-01-01 Whales 1, Cruise Lines 0 It's possible that some cruise lines will have to make last minute Alaska itinerary changes this summer. Last Friday, the National Park Service was told by the U.S. Court of Appeals that they had acted improperly by allowing an increase of 72% more cruise ships to visit Glacier Bay National Park. The court ordered the National Park Service to return traffic level to their pre-1996 levels and asked a lower court judge to determine whether the reduction of ships will take place this year, or in 2002; a decision is pending in the next few weeks.

In its ruling the court said, "There may be no place on Earth more spectacular than the Glacier Bay." A maritime sanctuary surrounded by mountains, the park's diverse habitats protect a wide variety of plant and animal life, including sea lions, porpoises, humpback whales, bears, moose, and mountain goats. The park is a place of "unrivaled scenic and geological values associated with natural landscapes," as well as pristine air and water quality. All these park values could be impacted by increased vessel traffic in Glacier Bay.

The decision is a victory for the National Parks & Conservation Association, a non-profit group that brought the lawsuit alleging the Park Service violated federal law by failing to prepare an environmental impact statement. Back to Top

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