News Archive - May 2000

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5-29-00 New Sea Of Cortes/Baja Cruises Cruise West announces new Sea of Cortes/Baja Mexico itineraries scheduled during the winter 2000/01 season ranging from three- and four-night getaways to seven-night explorations of Baja's Pacific and Sea of Cortes coasts and of the Mexican mainland between Guaymas and Los Mochis. The new itineraries visit small towns including Guaymas, Los Mochis, Loreto and Mulege. Isla Espiritu Santo, Angel de la Guarda and Tiburon Islands are a few of the islands accessible only by small ship that are visited. Two Cruise West ships carrying no more than 100 passengers each, the Spirit of Endeavour and Spirit of '98, will be based in Cabo San Lucas during the Mexico cruise season. Voyages from Baja ports -- Cabo San Lucas and La Paz -- combine beach time with wildlife viewing and visits to small (and very old) port communities that give travelers a more genuine, up-close experience of Mexico's history and culture than is available at mainland tourism centers. Reservations and additional information may be obtained by contacting your travel agent. Cruise West's web site is: Back to Top

5-26-00 Anne Campbell's Weekend Cruise NewsPremier's OceanBreeze began sailing under new ownership May 20, 2000. Imperial Majesty Cruise Line completed the purchase of the classic liner from Premier for a total of $16 million including the purchase price and planned upgrades to the vessel which will take place this fall.

Bookings have opened for Royal Caribbean's 2001 Alaska season. Vision of the Seas will continue to sail the Sunday, Inside Passage itinerary. RCI's newly formed Royal Celebrity Tours will offer Alaska tours in conjunction with Rhapsody of the Sea's Vancouver-to-Seward cruises and those of Celebrity's Mercury.

Society Expeditions of Seattle is waiting for the final report on the condition of its ship, the World Discoverer, which was beached in the Solomon Islands earlier this month to avoid sinking after striking an uncharted reef. The Alaska season has been officially cancelled but the company hopes to resume operations in the fall.

Carnival Destiny's ongoing propulsion problems forced the cancellation of the 4-day cruise from Boston last Monday. Destiny has undergone repairs and sea trials this week and is expected to sail Friday on an altered itinerary as she will not be able to make all ports. The incident is the latest in a series of power problems which saw the vessel adrift in the Caribbean in February and altering its itinerary in April due to reduced speed.

Vision of the Seas, another diesel-electric powered ship also experienced propulsion problems last month and was forced to miss the port of Hilo on its voyage from Acapulco to Honolulu.

Holland America's new Zaandam offers a different kind of on board amenity; dental services are now available for passengers upon request. The new Sea Dentist services will be charged to the passenger's on board account and include fillings, bridge repair, appliance adjustments and crown re-cementing. Emergency dental care only is provided for passengers on HAL's nine other ships and regular dental care is provided for the crew. Back to Top

5-26-00 Royal Caribbean Expands 2001 Alaska Program In 2001, Royal Caribbean will offer an expanded Alaska program with the addition of a third ship, the new Radiance of the Seas, and launching a comprehensive ground program for pre- and post-cruise excursions. The 88,000-ton Radiance of the Seas is a new class of Royal Caribbean ship, with glass elevators facing the sea and rising 12 floors, floor-to-ceiling windows in many public areas and 70% of outside cabins with private verandas. The new ship will join Rhapsody of the Seas and Vision of the Seas next summer in on-going Alaska cruises. Radiance of the Seas and Vision of the Seas both sail on seven-night itineraries round-trip from Vancouver; Rhapsody of the Seas cruises on one-week voyages between Vancouver and Seward and Vision of the Seas

Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises passengers seeking a pre- or post-cruise ground tour will find new private rail cars with 360 degree viewing, a restaurant and wheelchair accessibility to the dome level. Wilderness lodges will be used in overnight stays, including the new Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, Denali Bluffs and the Westin Aleyska's Prince Resort. Reservations and additional information may be obtained from travel agents.Back to Top

5-25-00 Disney Offers Weddings At Private Island Disney Cruise Line will offer weddings at Disney's private Bahamian island, Castaway Cay, or a renewal of vows aboard Disney Wonder and Disney Magic. Per couple package fares begin at $4,444 for a three night cruise, $4,644 for a four-night cruise and $5,224 for a seven night land and sea vacation or a seven-night eastern Caribbean cruise. Packages include a three, four or seven-night cruise; dinner for two at a Walt Disney World restaurant (land/sea packages only); an officiant to perform the ceremony; private limo service to and from Cape Canaveral; personalized selection of fresh flowers for a bouquet; wedding memento from Disney Cruise Line; "romance" basket delivered to couples' stateroom; a two-tier cake and champagne; musician for ceremony; Disney wedding/vow renewal certificate; dinner at Paolo, the adults-only restaurant aboard ship and assistance of a wedding counselor. The packages may be booked through travel agents. Back to Top

5-24-00 Charges Dropped in Rape Accusation The charges have been dropped against two former Carnival Cruise Lines employees who were accused of rape on May 3rd. Details about what led prosecutors to drop the charges were not made available, but a U.S. Attorney's spokesperson said that all of the evidence had been reviewed and that the department concluded that pressing charges would not be appropriate.

The two crew members, Desmond Abraham (Dominica, West Indies) and Julio Delgado (Nicaragua) were accused of the attack by two female passengers while the cruise ship was docked off the coast of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The names of the women were not released. The workers were fired by the Miami-based cruise line on the day the attack was reported, and the FBI arrested the pair after the ship arrived in Los Angeles on May 7 at the end of the seven-day cruise.

The ship's doctor, Jamie King, examined the women and said in an affidavit that he did not detect any bruising, bleeding or traces of semen. The two crewman said the women approached them in a ship hallway and began kissing them. Both denied having sex with the women.

Even though the charges have been dropped, Carnival said the firings for the two crewmen will stand because of a company rule that forbids crew members from fraternizing with passengers, according to Carnival spokesperson Jennifer de la Cruz. Back to Top

5-24-00 Nieuw Amsterdam Catches Fire A fire broke out aboard the Holland America cruise ship, Nieuw Amsterdam, as it steamed through Glacier Bay National Park carrying nearly 1,700 passengers and crew on Tuesday morning. It burned for about 45 minutes and caused extensive damage according to the Coast Guard and cruise line officials.

The ship was in the northwestern end of the bay when the fire was reported at about 9:40 a.m. The blaze was confined to the rear section of the ship, in the crew quarters and below the main passenger deck. All the passengers assembled at the lifeboat decks as a precaution while the crew fought the fire. One person sustained minor injuries that were attributed to the fire. "A passenger was disoriented, fell and hit his head," according to Coast Guard Petty Officer Mitchell Fletcher.

None of the ship's 1,201 passengers and 566 crew members were seriously injured according to Holland America spokesperson Erik Elvejord. Elvejord said 10 crew cabins needed to be repaired and that some crew members will likely be displaced by damage to their cabins, but the cruise line planned to finish the ship's voyage across the Gulf of Alaska to Seward.

After the fire was put out, the Nieuw Amsterdam continued under its own power to dock at Bartlett Cove, which is within the park, the Coast Guard said. "They're going to stay there until the Coast Guard completes its investigation," said Petty Officer Darrell Wilson.

A four-person team, including a vessel inspector, an investigator, a fire fighting expert and a park ranger, was dispatched to the ship to investigate the blaze, the Coast Guard said.

The ship carried 1,169 passengers and 542 crew members, Wilson said. How long the investigation will take and whether the passengers will be transferred to another vessel was unknown Tuesday, he said.

The Nieuw Amsterdam is one of the oldest ships in the Holland America fleet, and it is scheduled to be transferred to the new United States Line (owned by parent company American Classic Voyages which also owns America Hawaii and Delta Queen Steamboats) in October to be renamed the "The Patriot" and to sail year-round from Honolulu. Back to Top

5-19-00 Anne Campbell's Weekend Cruise News A report on the NCL's Norwegian Dream's collision with a container ship in the English Channel last year indicates that the incident was caused by an over burdened bridge officer on the Norwegian Dream. The full report, which will be released shortly, found that information overload and overwork led directly to the mistake which caused the collision.

P&O Cruises' newest ship, Aurora, is back in service after a mechanical problem forced the cancellation of the inaugural voyage 18 hours after it left port. The bearing failure which resulted in an overheated propeller shaft, was repaired in Germany where Aurora was built. Aurora sailed last Monday on a 12-day Canary Islands cruise with 1,800 passengers on board.

The Viking Serenade will head for Europe in 2001 under a new name. She will be the first ship to operate for a new cruise line being started as a joint venture between Royal Caribbean and First Choice Holidays, one of the U.K.'s largest tour operators. The new line will target the mass-market European vacationer. The name of the line and its first ship have yet to be named. Summer cruises will be offered in the Mediterranean and winter cruises, in the Caribbean.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will cruise to Cuba in November on the inaugural Nassau'-to-Havana voyage of the newly formed Cuba Cruise Corporation. A select 400 guests will be aboard the m.v. La Habana on November 16, 2000 when it sails on the historic cruise. For the first time since 1963 regularly scheduled departures to Cuba that are legally accessible to American citizens will be offered by the new company. In Havana on the night of November 17, a festive outdoor concert will bring cruise passengers together with Cubans for a special celebration.

Premier Cruises is consulting with travel agents regarding the future of the Rembrandt, the former Holland America liner, s.s.Rotterdam. "Premier Red" or "Holland America Blue" is the question being asked. The company announced last November that Rembrandt would become the Big Red Boat IV in November 2000 but fierce opposition to the decision has stalled plans for the transition. The legendary liner, built in Rotterdam in 1959 for the transatlantic run, is one of the finest ships of that era still afloat.

The Regal Princess and sister, Crown Princess, have undergone "Millennium Makerovers" to bring them in line with Princess's "Grand Class" cruising concept. The multimillion dollar renovation includes a new 24-hour restaurant, 2, 000 square foot dedicated youth center plus brand new interior decor.

Radisson Seven Seas Cruises will place an order for a new ship within the next two weeks. The 700- passenger, all-suite luxury vessel will be a sister to the Seven Seas Mariner, presently under construction in France and scheduled for delivery next February.

Celebrity will sail from Tampa for the first time with the deployment of Zenith in the Gulf port for the 2001/2002 season.

Royal Caribbean's former Sun Viking suffered damage from a fire which started in the theatre. Now called the Hyundai Pongnae. she sails for Hyundai Merchant Marine between South and North Korea. The ship was at dock in the North Korean port of Chongjin at the time of the fire. The 18,455 grt vessel sailed for Royal Caribbean from 1972 to 1998.

Star Cruises is continuing its program to develop the infrastructure of its ports-of-call in Asia. A new terminal and jetty have been opened in Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam. The new building consists of a 100 foot jetty with link bridge to the terminal building, concrete walkway and umbrella-shaped shelter.Back to Top

5-19-00 Royal Caribbean Europe Expansion Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the world's second-largest cruise operator, said it will invest about $300 million in First Choice Holidays Plc and start a European cruise line with the U.K. tour operator. Targeting middle-class European cruisers, the new company's first vessel will be Royal Caribbean's 1,500-passenger Viking Serenade The Viking Serenade will be renamed and put into the new cruise line, Royal Caribbean said. The vessel will sail in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, beginning next year. The new cruise line has yet to be named. Back to Top

5-17-00 Busy Hurricane Season Predicted The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that it expects an above-average hurricane season this year, with at least seven hurricanes. The agency predicts that three of them will be major hurricanes, with maximum sustained winds of more than 110 mph. Hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. Back to Top

5-15-00 New Royal Caribbean Orlando Package Royal Caribbean will compete with Carnival and Disney by adding it's own pre- and post-cruise Orlando theme park vacation package. RCI has launched a seven-night "Orlando Experience" package, a seven-night program featuring a four-night Sovereign of the Seas cruise from Port Canaveral, accommodations at the Portofino Bay Hotel a two-day pass to Universal Studios, $20 meal voucher at Hard Rock Cafe, one-day admission to the Guinness World Records Experience attraction and a 15% discount on Alamo car rentals. The "Orlando Experience" package starts at $968 per person, double occupancy. Reservations and additional information may be obtained from local travel agents.Back to Top

5-12-00 Anne Campbell's Weekend Cruise News An overheated generator in the engine compartment of the Crystal Harmony ignited soot that was in the smoke stack creating a fire as she sat in in the harbor in Victoria B.C. Shipboard and local firefighters were able to contain and extinguish the fire within a few hours and since most of the passengers were already ashore there was no need to evacuate the ship.

Commodore Cruise Line is planning a 7-night cruise beginning November 25 to the Western Caribbean featuring New Orleans cuisine from the city's reknowned chef Dickie Brennan of the city's Palace Cafe. Wines by Mondavi vineyards will also be featured.

Didn't get enough Millennium last December? Crystal Cruises claims the real Millennium is January 1, 2001 and will give its passengers another big gala on the Dec. 20, Harmony and Dec. 22, 2000 Symphony voyages, complete with $100,000 worth of decorations and lots of bubbly.

Oooops! During a January 19, 2000 surprise health inspection, ship inspectors from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) gave Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2 a very non-regal score of 79. CDC considers 86 a "passing" score.

Princess Cruises will return to Bermuda in 2001, again with the Pacific Princess sailing round-trip from New York to Hamilton, St. George and West End.

P&O Cruises of Britain its forming an alliance with Festival Cruises (marketed in the U.S. as First European Cruises), joining its Princess, P&O and Aida with Festival's four cruise ships. The company said that P&O will pay a mixture of cash and shares of up to $400 million.

The State of Alaska has reached an accord with cruise lines and won't be levying a $50 tax on each passenger. The cruise lines will monitor air pollution in ports and has agreed to sewage-discharge inspections.

KD River Cruises of Europe is offering "Exclusive" service on two Elbe itineraries, with a gala dinner, complimentary wine with dinner, free use of bicycles and gourmet snacks. Sailing between Prague and Magdeburg through Oct. 2000 is the 124-passenger Clara Schumann.Back to Top

5-12-00 NCL's New 2001 Itineraries & Programs Few cruise lines are launching the extensive changes in on-board programs and new itineraries as Norwegian Cruise Line. "Freestyle Cruising", scheduled to begin on Norwegian Sky in several weeks and extend to all vessels during the year, is an innovative program. NCL will eliminate formal nights and clothing will be casual/informal. More significantly, passengers will find single, open seating available in all restaurants aboard ships enabling them to dine when and with whom they please. New 2001/02 itineraries include:

  • Norwegian Wind -- Starting September, 2001, cruises to Asia will be featured aboard Norwegian Wind in 2001, including a 21-day Northern Circle cruise sailing from Vancouver to Beijing (China), an 11-day China Highlights cruise, and a series of Southeast Asia cruise tours operating on a triangle between Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore. Five different cruise tours ranging from 12-21 days also include hotel stays. In 2002, Norwegian Wind will offer a 19-day Holiday cruise from Singapore to Sydney, followed by cruises to Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific and Hawaii.
  • Norwegian Sun -- The newest member of the NCL fleet, the 2,012-passenger Norwegian Sun will debut in the fall 2001 season with a 16-day "Path of the Vikings" maiden voyage on September 10, 2001, sailing from London to New York. Following a series of 12-day Canada/New England cruises round-trip from New York, Norwegian Sun will sail a 14-day cruise on November 3 from New York to Miami, where the ship will offer seven-day Western Caribbean cruises throughout the winter season.
  • Norway -- On April 15, 2001, the Norway will begin offering year-round two- and five-day cruises to the Bahamas/Western Caribbean. Sailing round trip from Miami, the two day Friday-to-Sunday Bahamas cruises visit NCL's private island, Great Stirrip Cay and five day Sunday-Friday voyages add stops in Grand Cayman and Cozumel.
  • Norwegian Sea -- Beginning in January 2001, Norwegian Sea will offer alternating three- and four-day Bahamas itineraries round-trip from Miami through April 27. Norwegian Sea will then reposition to New York to offer a series of four seven-day Bahamas itineraries, followed by 15 New England and five Canada/New England cruises. A 15-day Colonial America cruise on October 21 will reposition the ship back to Miami, where the three- and four-day itineraries will resume
  • Norwegian Dream -- From December 23, 2000 through March 4, 2001, Norwegian Dream will cruise in South America, featuring a series of Cape Horn/Straight of Magellan itineraries alternating from Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Valparaiso (Chile). Following a series of three special cruises beginning March 18 -- a 15-day "Southern Discovery" from Valparaiso to Miami, a 16-day Springtime Trans-Atlantic cruise from Miami to Italy, and a 12-day Springtime Western Europe cruise from Italy to England, the ship Norwegian Dream will reposition to Dover (England), where it will begin a "Baltic Capitals" series on April 30, 2001. At the conclusion of the Baltic itineraries, Norwegian Dream will offer a fall series of Mediterranean and Ancient Holy Lands cruises alternating from Athens (Greece) and Istanbul (Turkey), until early December, when the ship will resume its South America itineraries.
  • Norwegian Majesty -- Beginning December 17, 2000, Norwegian Majesty will offer seven-day alternating Aruba/Exotic Southern Caribbean cruises round-trip from San Juan. On April 29, 2001, Norwegian Majesty will reposition to Boston, where the ship will resume its series of round-trip cruises to St. George's (Bermuda), through mid-October. At the conclusion of the Bermuda season, Norwegian Majesty will reposition back to San Juan to resume its Southern Caribbean itineraries.
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5-11-00 Record Quarter for People Cruising During the first quarter of 2000 a record 1.7 million people went on a cruise vacation, an increase of 16.5% over the same quarter last year and the most active quarter ever. Capacity for the same period, generally considered to be the number of beds available "on the floor" -- usually two per cabin -- increased approximately 8%.

Jim Godsman, president of the Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA), told reporters at a press conference in New York City yesterday that the cruise industry has a good record of being able to fill new capacity. He noted that from 1990-99 the cruise industry was able to fill 87.8% of new capacity, and that in the last three years it has been able to increase that to 90%.

CLIA projects that for the year 2000 there will be an increase in capacity of 9.9% while the historical increase of new passengers per year is usually near 7.9%. However, the figures for the first quarter indicate that the cruise lines are out-pacing the average and filling the new capacity at a record rate.

Godsman noted that the increase in capacity has created a situation where the cruise lines are forced to lower prices in order to fill the ships. Indeed, 2000 is shaping up as the year of the bargain for cruise consumers. The benefit of the current "tactical pricing" is that the industry is able to convince the "fence-sitters" to take a cruise, according to Godsman, and that convincing people to take their first cruise is a boon to the industry since the majority of people who take one cruise go on to take many more. It was also noted that word-of-mouth from cruisers who return home and "talk up" their vacation to as may as 10 to 15 people is a significant factor in convincing people to take their first cruise.

According to CLIA research, nearly 75 million North Americans say they are interested in cruising in the next five years, and over 41 million say they "definitely" or "probably" will. "More than enough to fill the existing fleet -- and any newcomers on the scene," concludes Godsman. Back to Top

5-11-00 P&O Acquires Festival Cruise Lines P&O Cruise Line of Britain (Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co) announced this morning in London that it has acquired European cruise firm Festival in a deal worth up to $400 million. Festival was the largest independent European cruise company and the owner of the new ship Mistral, it is marketed in the United States as First European Cruises. P&O is also the parent company of Princess Cruise Lines.

The acquisition is a combination of stock in P&O and cash. Festival is marketed mostly to Europeans and is based in Genoa, Italy. P&O chairman Jeffrey Sterling has stated his confidence in the strength of the burgeoning European cruise market and sees Festival as a strong brand name in that market. P&O also recently acquired a 51% stake in German cruise operator Arkona Touristik to create a new cruise operation called AIDA.Back to Top

5-10-00 Crew Members Charged With Rape Two crew members of Carnival Cruise Line's Elation have been charged with raping two female passengers during a Mexico cruise. The women allege that on May 3, 2000, they reboarded Elation in Puerto Vallarta drunk and the two crew members followed them to their cabin where they were assaulted. After one of the alleged victims phoned her father, the FBI stepped in and arrested both crew members, who deny the charges, claiming that while they did kiss the girls, they never raped them. Elation's physician immediately examined both women and in a signed affidavit, report no evidence of bruising, bleeding or semen. Carnival has fired the two crew members and is cooperating with the investigation.Back to Top

5-9-00 Windstar to Reposition to New Zealand Windstar Cruises has announced that Wind Song will be repositioned in New Zealand, sailing on 10-day cruises. In New Zealand, the vessels will sail from Auckland or Christchurch, New Zealand on alternating itineraries from December 2001 through May 2002. The Oct.. 20, 2001 repositioning cruise between Athens, Greece and Auckland are planned in 14- and 18-day segments: Oct. 20, 2001, an 18-day cruise from Athens to Bombay, India; the Nov. 7, 2001 18-day voyge from Bombay to Bali, Indonesia; the Nov. 25, 2001 sailing from Bali to Carins, Australia and the Dec. 9, 2000 14-day cruise from Carins to Auckland, New Zealand. For additional information, contact Windstar Cruises at their web site: Back to Top

5-8-00 Debut of New Columbia Queen On May 26, 2000, the first river boat built specifically for exploring the Pacific Northwest will begin her inaugural season of eight-night voyages. Delta Queen Steamboat Company has constructed the 161-passenger Columbia Queen for cruises along the Columbia, Snake and Willamette rivers, a 1,000-mile journey from Portland, Oregon to Astoria, Oregon (near the Pacific Ocean) and to Lewiston, Idaho, the gateway to Hells Canyon.

Columbia QueenBuilt in Jennings, LA, Columbia Queen is American registry with all-American staff. The decor is 19th century with cherry paneling, sweeping mahogany staircase with brass trim and an authentic Tiffany chandelier. Passengers dine in the Astoria Room, which also serves as a dancing lounge at night. There are two main lounges/cocktail bars and the Back Porch, the setting for alfresco dining at breakfast.

Staterooms aboard Columbia Queen are 69% outside; category AAA measure 235 sq. feet with French balconies; AA cabins are 220 sq. ft. with French balconies; 37 standard A cabins are 165 sq. ft.; cat B inside staterooms are 143 sq. ft. and the one single occupancy inside cabin is 91 sq. ft. There is one wheelchair-accessible category A cabin. All staterooms have TV, VCR, radio, hairdryer, iron/ironing board, twin beds that convert to a king size bed.

The eight night Columbia Queen vacations begin with an overnight stay in Portland, and a visit to Mount St. Helens Volcanic Monument. Highlights of the itinerary include the Columbia River Gorge; Washington State's wine region; a jet boat ride along the Idaho boarder into Hells Canyon; a visit to the top of 6,000-ft. Mt. Hood, the Lewis and Clark memorial and several Indian reservations and national parks.

Rates start at $2,100 in value season, $3,100 in peak season; fares are per person, double occupancy including port charges. Advance purchase discounts of $500 are available for those who book early. For a brochure call The Delta Queen Steamboat Company at (800) 297-3960. Back to Top

5-5-00 Weekend Cruise News Orient Lines' passengers cruise for soft adventure so it's fitting that the godmother of its newest vessel, the Crown Odyssey, will be Lady June Hillary, wife of the famed explorer and Mt. Everest conqueror, Sir Edmund Hillary. Lady Hillary christened the 1,050-passenger ship May 8, 2000 in Istanbul, accompanied by her husband who will join her in inaugural festivities ��Cruisers under 21 sailing aboard Carnival Cruise Line ships can now purchase a card for unlimited fountain drinks during their cruise. The costs is based on length of cruise: three days, $8; four days, $11; seven days $18. Simply sign up for the card at any time during the cruise..... Princess has renovated its Fairbanks lodge and added 125 additional rooms, renaming the property Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge. Located on the Chena River, the $125 million refurbishment includes a new outdoor deck and 100-seat covered dining area .... Princess Cruises has refurbished Crown Princess and Regal Princess, adding 24-hour restaurants, a youth center, new sculptures, murals and art pieces ..... Gavin MacLeod (a.k.a. Captain Stubing) will welcome the original Love Boat, Pacific Princess, to New York on Sunday, May 7, bidding her embarking passengers bon voyage as they sail on the ship's inaugural cruise to Bermuda. Pacific Princess will sail every Sunday through Oct. 22, 2000 ..... Commodore Cruise Line's Enchanted Isle will offer a "Magical Halloween Cruise" on the Oct. 28, 2000 departure from New Orleans, complete with magicians, costume parties, lectures on magic, horror movies and pumpkin carving contests.... The largest collection of tall ships ever assembled sets sail from Cadiz, Spain on a race for Bermuda. More than 100 sailing ships are entered in the race, a celebration of the millennium. Following a stay in Bermuda the ships will spend a month touring the west coast including a 4-day stay in New York with special July 4 celebrations ... A highlight of Holland America's new Zaandam, which arrived in Ft. Lauderdale April 28 is a guitar collection signed by such famous musicians as the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, glam-rock group Queen and Iggy Pop; and a saxophone signed by President Bill Clinton ..... During 2001, Delta Queen Steamboat Company has scheduled 33 Big Band cruises aboard Mississippi Queen and American Queen on cruises leaving New Orleans, Louisville, Nashville, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Memphis and St. Paul. Back to Top

5-5-00 Vancouver To See One Million Cruisers During 2000, the port of Vancouver will see a million cruise passenger due to the big influx of new ships. In total, 25 vessels from 12 cruise lines will make 335 sailings this year, up from 309 in 1999. The number of Port Vancouver's revenue passengers is expected to grow by 10 percent. In 1999, Port Vancouver welcomed more than 947,000 revenue passengers. Port Vancouver adds four new ships to its roster: Holland America's Volendam with a passenger capacity of 1,440, Princess Cruises' Ocean Princess with a passenger capacity of 1,950, Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Sky with a passenger capacity of 2,000 and Radisson Seven Seas' Seven Seas Navigator with a passenger capacity of 490. Add to this is the addition of a three- to four-day ``pocket cruise'' between Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle on Royal Caribbean International's Vision of the Seas. This unique shorter route offers the uninitiated a chance to sample a cruise for the first time.Back to Top

5-3-00 New Ship In Troubled Waters Shortly after a gala christening by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, P&O's new 83,775-ton Aurora set sail on troubled water. But just one day into her inaugural cruise, the ship broke down and limped back to port. Built at a cost of $320 million, Aurora's propeller shaft overheated, resulting in a return to Southampton for repairs. Some 1,800 passengers found their cruise cancelled; they will receive a full refund. P&O, which is the parent company of Princess Cruises, says that the ship's second voyage, scheduled to depart May 15, 2000, will proceed as normal. Back to Top

5-01-00 Ship Run Aground, Passengers Rescued The MV World Discoverer, a 3,724-gross ton double-hulled liner built to withstand the ice-laden waters of Antarctica, was intentionally run aground onto a beach on Guadalcanal in order to disembark its passengers late Sunday afternoon. The ship was run aground according to a decision made by the captain of the vessel after striking a rock or uncharted reef off the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean 20 miles north of the Solomon's capital of Honiara.

As the ship began taking on water it soon developed a list of 20 degrees. At that point the captain decided it was best to run the ship aground in order to prevent it from taking on any more water and to safely disembark the passengers. According to Michael Lomax, president of Society Expeditions, which runs the World Discoverer out of Seattle, ``The ship is in that position right now.''

There were 112 passengers and 80 crew members on-board and all were taken off the ship in lifeboats safely and very quickly, according to Lomax. The passengers included about 50 Americans, 50 Germans and 8 British citizens. The local police commissioner reported that most of the passengers have lost most of their belongings, but that the mood of the group still appears to be reasonably cheerful. The survivors were put up in three hotels on Honiara, on the main island of Guadalcanal, and would board a chartered flight for Brisbane later on Monday. They were due to arrive about midnight (1400 GMT).

A spokeswoman for the Honiara Hotel, where most crew members were sent, said the World Discoverer's captain had stayed with his ship while an investigation team was being organised. Society Expeditions said it had cancelled the rest of the current voyage, which began in Fiji on April 23 and was to have ended in Guam on May 11 after visiting Papua New Guinea. Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corp radio said about 50 ships, including Japanese and American battleships as well as Australian and New Zealand warships, lay sunk in the area of the accident, which is known as Iron Bottom Sound.Back to Top

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