News Archive - November 2002

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11-29-02 Weekend Cruise News *** A record number of new ships are set to debut next month. Carnival Conquest begins her seven-night Western Caribbean cruises from New Orleans on Sunday, December 1. She will be followed by Navigator of the Seas and Zuiderdam on December 14 from Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, respectively. Norwegian Dawn's inaugural season begins December 21 from Miami. Two new Princess ships set sail December 24: Coral Princess, a new class of ship for Princess, from Ft. Lauderdale and Tahitian Princess, the former R4 of Renaissance Cruises, from Papeete, Tahiti.

*** The number of Americans discovery cruise vacations continues to grow. The latest forecast from the Cruise Line International Association predicts a total of 27 million Americans will take a cruise during 2003, 2004 and 2005 - an average of 9 million a year. Meanwhile the Port of Miami reports a rise of 7.4 percent in the number of passengers sailing from the port in the year ending September 30, 2002. The number rose to 3.64 million passengers from 3.39 million the previous year.

*** Highlights of Windstar Cruises' 2003 European season are the launch of its first-ever season in the Baltic and longer cruises in the Greek Isles. The 308-passenger luxury sailing yacht Wind Surf will journey to the Baltic on itineraries that include an overnight visit to St. Petersburg, Russia. Passengers will be able to enjoy the many celebrations taking place in honor of St. Petersburg's 300th anniversary. The itineraries include two 12-day cruises between London, England and Copenhagen, Denmark; and four 10-day cruises roundtrip from Copenhagen, Denmark.

The 148-passenger Wind Star will sail a new 11-day itinerary between Athens and Venice. Departing on May 20 and 31, and August 5 and 16, 2003, the 11-day itinerary calls at Venice, Italy; Hvar (Venice to Athens only), Korcula (Athens to Venice only) and Dubrovnik, Croatia; day at sea; Katakolon, Kythira, Santorini, and Patmos, Greece; Kusadasi, Turkey; Mykonos and Athens, Greece. Highlights of the longer 11-day cruise include visits to the original location of the Olympic Games in Katakolon; a church with paintings by Raphael and Titian in Dubrovnik; and in Kusadasi a visit to Ephesus, one of the most awe-inspiring archaeological sites in the world. To receive brochures or for more information call 1-877-827-7245 or visit Windstar Cruises online at

*** Crystal Cruises saw an increase of 12 percent in the number of children and teens sailing to Alaska in 2002. In response to the growing number of families cruising, Crystal Harmony's venue for children's supervised activities, Fantasia, was enhanced this year. New furniture and carpeting were added and custom designed kiosks installed for Sony Playstation video games and personal computers featuring entertainment and educational software. During the 2003 season naturalists will be a part of the educational children's program on board Crystal Harmony which includes one counselor for each 12 participants. Accommodations on board include three-bed staterooms as well as suites and connecting staterooms. Cribs are available when requested in advance. The "SurfRunner" children's newsletter outlining the next day's activities is delivered to each child's stateroom each evening. Children under 12 pay 50 percent of the minimum cruise fare when accompanied by two full-fare paying guests and a child 12 or older in a third berth, pays the minimum fare. Crystal Harmony sails 12-night cruises from San Francisco to Alaska from June 2 through September 6, 2003.

*** Coral Princess will debut the brand new "ScholarShip@Sea" program when she enters service December 24. The new enrichment program offers 20 courses per voyage from four core subject areas: Culinary Arts, Visual/Creative Arts, Photography and Computer Technology. The high-tech, two-deck Universe Lounge is specially equipped to handle the classes. It features a full kitchen set, similar to those used on televised cooking shows for the Culinary Arts classes and wine tasting events. Pottery students will have their ceramic creations fired in the industry's first on board kiln. Computer technology classes train students on specific software programs and teach web page creation. The on board lecture series will vary on each sailing. Possible topics include personal finance, underwater archaeology, nutrition, geography, natural history, wellness, the performing arts and marine biology. Invitations have also been extended to authors, astronauts, chess champions and maritime historians to participate in the enrichment program. Classes are free of charge with special in-depth instruction sessions offered from $10 a session.

*** Crown Odyssey's final voyage for Orient Lines will be a 14-night transatlantic crossing from Rome to Baltimore, September 1, 2003. Ports of call are Livorno (for Florence), Cannes, Barcelona and Lisbon. The voyage is available as a 17-day cruisetour, including flights and two-nights pre-cruise hotel in Rome. Orient Lines will return to a one-vessel fleet following the transfer of Crown Odyssey to Norwegian Cruise Line on September 15, 2003. Marco Polo will once again be the only ship sailing Orient's destination-focused, educational voyages which include sailings to Antarctica.

*** Check your local listings for The Travel Channel's hour-long special, "Great Cruises, Radiance of the Seas," airing Sunday, December 1. It features Radiance of the Seas' on a seven-night, Alaska Inside Passage cruise, round-trip from Vancouver, calling at Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan.

*** The hull of the first Project America ship is scheduled to arrive at Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany in mid December. Norwegian Cruise Line expects the 2000-passenger, as yet unnamed vessel to be ready for service by spring, 2004. Design changes will make the ship suitable for NCL's freestyle cruising. The new ship will be similar in design to Norwegian Sun. Back to Top

11-29-02 US Health Officials: Ships Safe The Centers for Disease Control has said that cruise ships are safe and advises travelers not to delay in booking a ship. CDC official David Forney says ships are not the source of the Norwalk Virus, that it was probably brought on board by an infected person. The Disney Magic is presently out of service for after 104 passengers came down with the bug. Holland America's Amsterdam is also out of service, getting disinfected in Ft. Lauderdale after passengers became ill on a series of cruises. Back to Top

11-22-02 Weekend Cruise News *** Carnival Conquest was christened last Tuesday in her home port of New Orleans by Lindy Boggs, former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican and the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Louisiana. Controversy over a low hanging power line across the Mississippi has stolen the spotlight. Entergy Corp's power line is too low for the 207-foot tall ship to navigate under. River traffic is disrupted and the power to the line cut as Carnival Conquest navigates close to shore where the line is highest. River levels are scheduled to rise over the winter however. Carnival will move Conquest to Gulfport in two months if the power line is not raised. Estimated cost to raise the power line is $15 million. The 110,000-ton Carnival Conquest is the largest vessel in Carnival's 18-vessel fleet. Seven-day cruises begin Dec. 1 from New Orleans, calling at Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

*** Two new ships have been delivered to their cruise lines in the last week. Both will sail year-round in the Caribbean. Holland America Line's first Vista-class ship, Zuiderdam was handed over in Marghera, Italy, November 15. The largest ship in the HAL fleet, Zuiderdam will be christened December 14, 2002 at ceremonies in Ft. Lauderdale. Joan Lunden, long-time co-host of ABC's Good Morning America and current host of A&E's Behind Close Doors & The Real Story, will serve as godmother. Zuiderdam will sail year-round, seven-night cruises every Saturday from Ft. Lauderdale to the Eastern and Western Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean's fourth voyager-class vessel, Navigator of the Seas was handed over in Turku, Finland, November 18. She will be christened by tennis star Stefanie Graf at ceremonies in Miami, December 6, 2002. Navigator of the Seas commences year-round, seven-night cruises every Saturday from Miami to the Eastern and Western Caribbean on December 14, 2002.

*** A Norwalk-like virus has been reported aboard Disney Magic. About 100 of the 3,300 passengers came down with the ailment on Disney Magic's seven-night cruise this week. The ship returns to Port Canaveral on Saturday and is being thoroughly cleaned while en route. The next sailing will go ahead as scheduled.

*** Due to high demand, Royal Olympic Cruises has arranged a third departure for Olympia Voyager's "Great Rivers of South America" itinerary. The additional sailing departs from Houston on March 24, 2003 on a 19-day (return to Fort Lauderdale) or 17-day (Fort Lauderdale roundtrip) journey to both the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers, the longest waterways on the South American continent. Ports of call include Virgin Gorda, Barbados, Orinoco River, Puerto Ordaz (Venezuela), Devil's Island (French Guiana), and the Amazon River, crossing the Equator and continuing on to Boca da Valeria, Manaus, Santarem, Trinidad and St. Thomas. The newly scheduled "Great Rivers of South America" cruise replaces both the previously scheduled March 24th 12-day "Eastern Caribbean" cruise and the April 5th 7-day "Mayaribbean" cruise.

Olympia Voyager's March 24 cruise will feature the new "Seafaring Gourmet" program, with culinary demonstrations, plus signature dishes and menu selections created by prominent guest chefs. Special guests for the on board enrichment program will be Archaeologist Dr. Justin Jennings, Ambassador Edward Marks, former US Foreign Service Officer, Astronomer and Environmentalist Dr. Kurt Riegel, Pianist Michael Fennelly, Soprano Stephani Bissinger and Tenor Tod Kowallis.

*** Orient Lines' Crown Odyssey will be transferred to Norwegian Cruise Line next September. It will be the second time the ship has sailed for NCL. She sailed as the Norwegian Crown for NCL from March, 1996 to May, 2000. The ship will sail from Baltimore on a series of Canada/New England cruises and will take over NCL's South America program from Norwegian Dream for the winter of 2003-2004. Norwegian Dream will homeport in New Orleans for the winter, returning to the Baltic in summer. Another change planned is the redeployment of Norwegian Sea will homeport in Houston year-round.

*** World Explorer Cruises Inc. is forming a new joint venture with Silja Line of Helsinki, Finland, known for their Baltic ferry service. The new company, World Explorer Cruises Ltd., will continue to operate educational, destination focused cruises aboard the Universe Explorer in Alaska for the summer and Central America at year end. The line plans to refurbish the 725-passenger Enchanted Isle, sister ship to Universe Explorer, and rename her ss Universe Ambassador for year-round, worldwide cruises beginning in 2004. Itineraries for the "voyages of discovery, learning and adventure" are to be unveiled shortly. The American-built steamships Universe Explorer and Universe Ambassador have sailed together under many names, including the Volendam and Veendam for Holland America Line and most recently as the Enchanted Seas and Enchanted Isle for Commodore Cruise Lines. They originally entered service in 1958 for Moore McCormack Line as the Brazil and Argentina.

*** Costa's 2003 Europe program includes 45 itineraries on eight ships including the inaugural sailings of the new CostaMediterranea. Eastern and Western Mediterranean, Greek Isles, Black Sea, and Canary Islands cruises are offered round-trip from Genoa, Savona, Rome and Venice from March to November. CostaEuropa and CostaRomantica position between the Med and Amsterdam and Copenhagen on spring and fall Western European cruises. They sail to the Baltic, Norwegian Fjords and North Cape, June through August.

*** The two ships named Pacific Princess are in the news. The original ship has been purchased by Pullmantur, a Spanish cruise line. The company takes possession of the original "Love Boat" on December 5 when she heads for Greece to be refitted as the Pacific. The new Pacific Princess (the former R3 for Renaissance Cruises) has completed a refit in Singapore and set sail this week from Sydney on the first of her cruises to New Caledonia and Vanuatu for P&O Cruises Australia. She joins Princess Cruises for Alaska cruises from San Francisco next May. Back to Top

11-19-02 Holland America Line Ship Pulled From Europe Holland America Line has cancelled a full 2003 Europe and Asia season of the Prinsendam, repositioning the ship to Alaska instead. The ship was scheduled to make 11 voyages in these regions between April 25 and Sept. 20, 2003. Sailing round-trip from San Francisco, the Prinsendam will make 14-day roundtrip cruises to Skagway and Hubbard Glacier. A 22-day Panama Canal cruise on Sept. 10 will reposition the Prinsendam to Boston, where it will resume its original schedule. Back to Top

11-19-02 Amsterdam Sailing Cancelled Holland America Line has announced that it has cancelled the Nov. 21 sailing of the Amsterdam in order to break the person-to-person cycle of Norwalk Virus. The gastrointestinal ailment has resulted in hundreds of passengers falling ill over the past few months, both in Alaska and the Caribbean. The ship will be back in service for its Dec. 1 voyage. Back to Top

Carnival Conquest arrives in New Orleans

11-15-02 Weekend Cruise News *** CostaFortuna was launched last Monday in Genoa, Italy. The 105,000-ton, 2,720-passenger ship is the largest Italian cruise ship ever built. Constructed at Fincantieri's historic Sestri Ponente shipyards in Genoa, CostaFortuna is now being outfitted and will sail her maiden voyage next November. The on board design and decor will honor the many famous Italian liners which have been built at the Sestri Ponente shipyards. These include the Rex, Cristoforo Colombo, Frederico C and Leonardo da Vinci.

*** The "Project America" ships are en route to Germany where they are expected to be completed at Lloyd Werft shipyard. Norwegian Cruise Line purchased the materials, equipment and work performed to date on the "Project America" vessels in August. The partially completed hull of the first ship, along with materials and equipment needed to complete both vessels, is being towed to Europe from Northrop Grumman Ship Systems Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The original design of the as yet unnamed first ship has been modified for Freestyle Cruising and will be delivered to NCL in the Spring of 2004. "Project America" was originally developed by now defunct American Classic Voyages for cruising in Hawaii.

*** There was an outbreak of flu aboard Amsterdam last week. A crew of 600 was deployed to sanitize the vessel in Ft. Lauderdale, Monday, after Amsterdam arrived back from a 10-night cruise with 163 passengers and 18 crew members ill with a Norwalk-like virus. During the cruise, 25 passengers ill with the flu left the ship in Bonaire and St. Thomas together with their traveling companions. Amsterdam was carrying 1,323 passengers and 582 crew members on the stricken voyage.

*** Port Canaveral is gearing up for the arrival of Royal Olympic's 836-passenger Olympia Explorer November 26. The vessel will sail 11 to 16-night cruises to the Caribbean, Panama Canal and South America. Olympia Explorer is the first ship homeporting in Port Canaveral to sail cruises longer than seven nights.

*** Royal Caribbean has announced that its fifth Voyager-class vessel, Mariner of the Seas will sail from Port Canaveral. The 142,000-ton Mariner will sail alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from the port on Sundays commencing November 23, 2003. The Eastern itinerary calls at Nassau, St. Thomas, St. Maarten while the Western route visits Labadee, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. This itinerary replaces the originally scheduled Southern Caribbean cruises from San Juan.

*** Coral Princess will be christened by Mireya Moscoso, the President of Panama, on January 17, 2003. The ceremonies will be conducted while the ship sails through the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal. President Moscoso, Panama's first female head of state, took office in 1999. The 88,000-ton Coral Princess will transit the locks to Gatun Lake on 10-night cruises round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale commencing December 24, 2002. The christening will take place on the January 13, 2003 departure.

*** Holland America will debut new crew uniforms aboard the fist Vista-class ship, Zuiderdam, this December. The new design has been in the works for two years and is created by Omega Frontline Apparel Ltd. of Vancouver. It is the first change in uniform style in 15 years. The new uniforms will eventually be seen fleetwide.

*** Windstar has announced overnight stays on board its sailing ships in the Mediterranean and Atlantic next summer. The extended stays will occur in Monte Carlo, Monaco; Grand Harbour, Malta; Venice and Sorrento, Italy; Marseille, France and Casablanca, Morocco. New for 2003 is a 10-day itinerary between Rome and Venice, Italy aboard Wind Star. The May 10, June 11, July 26, and August 27 departures call at Rome and Sorrento Italy; Porto Empedocle, Sicily; Grand Harbour, Malta; Corfu, Greece; Dubrovnik and Korcula, Croatia and Venice, Italy. A total of 37 cruises, ranging from seven to 14 days in length, will navigate the Mediterranean and Med/Atlantic from April 19 to November 9, 2003. Cruise-only rates start at $2,612 per person, double occupancy.

*** A new waste water treatment system has been tested in Alaska and British Columbia. The Hydroxyl CleanSea system was used aboard Vision of the Seas in Alaska from the June 2 sailing and is currently operational on British Columbia ferries. The new technology surpasses International Maritime Organisation and Alaskan HB260 regulations according to the manufacturer, Hydroxyl Marine Systems of Sidney, BC. Royal Caribbean International decided on the CleanSea system after researching various waste water treatment technologies. A major advantage of the system is that it has no sludge discharges. The US Coast Guard is studying independent sample results from Vision of the Seas for discharge fitness. Back to Top

11-13-02 Coral Princess Inaugural Canceled Princess Cruises has announced that it's newest vessel, Coral Princess, will miss the Dec. 14, 2002 inaugural voyage due to delays in the shipyard. The ship's new inaugural cruise will now depart December 24. Passengers on the affected December 14 sailing will receive a full refund as well as a $500 per cabin credit on a future cruise. The 88,000-ton Coral Princess is the first in a new series of ships for Princess, and will debut with a series of 10-day roundtrip Canal voyages from Ft. Lauderdale. Back to Top

11-12-02 Princess To Add Two New Ships in 2004 Diamond Princess, which suffered massive fire damage while under construction at the Mitsubishi shipyard in Japan, will be rebuilt and enter service in 2004. She will join sister ship Sapphire Princess, scheduled to debut the same year.

Diamond Princess will launch in March 2004 with weekly sailings to Mexico roundtrip from Los Angeles. After the Mexico season, Diamond Princess will be repositioned to Seattle and joined by Sapphire Princess, placing these two newest and largest Princess ships together in Seattle for seven-day roundtrip Alaska Inside Passage sailings. During her first season, Sapphire Princess will also cruise in Alaska, sailing round-trip from Seattle. Back to Top

11-8-02 Weekend Cruise News
*** A highlight of Norwegian Dawn's recent float out was the unveiling of the vessel's hull art. Designed by Graphic Designer Keith Allan, the artwork depicts Norwegian Dawn's itineraries. On the starboard side, dolphins play in Technicolor waves reflecting the ship's Caribbean itinerary from the port of Miami. The port side features the Statue of Liberty, signifying the ship's groundbreaking Bahamas and Florida itinerary from the port of New York. The ship's hull also features reproduced signatures of Renoir, Matisse, Van Gogh, Monet and Pop icon Andy Warhol, whose work is displayed aboard the ship. Star Cruises Chairman Tan Sri Lim Kok has loaned NCL original oil paintings by the Impressionist masters from his personal collection. The works will be on display in Le Bistro restaurant. Norwegian Dawn is currently undergoing Sea Trials. The vessel will be handed over to NCL on December 5. Inaugural festivities will take place in New York on December 16. Alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Miami begin December 21.

*** Holland America's Grand World Voyage aboard the flagship Amsterdam is available in segments of 10 and 16 nights. "The Grand World Voyage is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation for travelers," said David A. Giersdorf, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "Whether on the full journey or one of our specially created segments, guests experience a cruise designed to provide the ultimate in premium service, cuisine and experiences." The 108-night voyage visits five continents en route from Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles. Available segments sail from Ft. Lauderdale to Rio de Janeiro, 16 nights, January 4; Rio de Janeiro to Valparaiso, Chile, 16 nights, January 20 via Cape Horn and the Antarctic Peninsula; Valparaiso to Sydney, 16 nights, February 9; Sydney to Hong Kong, 16 nights, March 12; Hong Kong to Osaka, 10 nights, March 27; Osaka to Los Angeles, 16 nights, April 6.

*** CostaMediterranea will be christened on June 7, 2003 in the vessel's home port of Naples. The ceremonies are being created by Italian director Valerio Festi. The 86,000-ton CostaMediterranea is sister ship to CostaAtlantica. She will call at Naples every Monday beginning June 30, on seven-night Western Med cruises from Genoa.

*** A special cruisetour designed for families will visit locations used in the popular Harry Potter movies. Royal Caribbean is offering the four-night cruisetour, "Magical Tour of England", in conjunction with Grandeur of the Seas' 12-night Northern Europe cruises. The tour includes a visit to Alnwick Castle in Northumberland where broomstick flying scenes were shot; a steam train ride through North York Moors National Park, stopping at historic Goathland Station used for the Hogsmeade Station scenes; and a stroll through the London Zoo reptile house where Harry discovers he can talk to snakes in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone". Local tour directors escort all cruisetours, setting aside plenty of free time for sightseeing and shopping. Grandeur of the Seas will sail 12-night Scandinavia/Russia and 12-night British Isles/Norwegian Fjords voyages round-trip from Harwich, England, from May 19, 2003, through August 23, 2003. The Magical Tour of England cruisetours are available on the July 6, July 18 and August 11, 2003 Grandeur of the Seas departures, with prices starting at $3,299 per person, double occupancy.

*** Combine a QE2 transatlantic crossing with a European river cruise on a special offer from Uniworld. A total of 16 eastbound and westbound traansatlantic sailings can be combined with most of Uniworld's 35 Europe river cruises from April 17 through October 19, 2003. The river cruises range from seven to 21 days in length. Land tour options are available should there be free days between the QE2 crossing and the river cruise. Add-on fares for the QE2 crossing start at $998 per person. Overall pricing for the combined river/QE2 sailings begin at less than $3,500 per person for 13 nights. For more information, see your travel agent, call Uniworld at 800-733-7820, or visit the company's web site at

*** Crystal Harmony returns to Alaska in 2003 with sailings from San Francisco. Special theme cruises next season include a Wine and Food Festival, June 14 and August 25; Classical Music, July 8 and Opera, July 20. Crystal Harmony's Alaska season begins May 23 with a single 10-night cruise from Vancouver to San Francisco followed by 12-night departures round-trip from San Francisco, June 2 to September 6. Ports of call include Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Sitka as well as Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia and, depending on itinerary, cruising Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier or Tracy Arm. For a 2003 Alaska brochure call 800.820.6663. For those wishing to drive to the ship, call the Port of San Francisco at 415.274.0400 for parking details.

*** A "memorandum of understanding" regarding environmental practices has been signed by Governor Ben Cayetano and officials of the North West CruiseShip Association. The state's Environmental Health Administration reports all members of the Association running cruises longer than one day in the islands pledged to follow the practices. The North West CruiseShip Association, which represents cruise lines sailing in Alaska, has been working with Hawaiian officials to develop the memorandum, since these lines also send ships to Hawaii. Ships sailing in Alaska are subject to strict state laws covering waste and smoke emissions. The Hawaiian memorandum is a step towards ensuring ships implement similar practices while in Hawaiian waters. Back to Top

11-1-02 Weekend Cruise News *** Nordic Empress and Horizon have completed their Bermuda seasons. Both ships will begin sailing to the Western Caribbean from Tampa this weekend. Royal Caribbean International's Nordic Empress sails from Tampa for the first time Saturday. The ship will sail every Saturday through April 12, 2003 to Grand Cayman, Belize City, and Cozumel. A special Mardi Gras cruise departs March 1, 2003, spending three days in New Orleans, as well as one night in Progreso, Mexico.

Celebrity Cruises' Horizon sails Sunday on the first of 23 seven-night Western Caribbean sailings calling at Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Grand Cayman. Horizon sails from Tampa every Sunday through April 6, 2003.

*** Carnival Legend received a perfect score on recent U.S. and Canadian health inspections. The vessel, which entered service last August, received perfect marks on all 42 items that comprise the U.S. Public Health Service's Vessel Sanitation Program, and the 42 items that encompass Health Canada's Cruise Ship Inspection Guide. The unannounced inspections took place in Baltimore and Halifax.

*** Ocean Princess has completed her conversion for P&O Cruises. Renamed Oceana and sporting a yellow funnel, she sails on her first cruise for P&O Cruises tonight, a 14-night Southern Caribbean itinerary round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale. Oceana will sail from Ft. Lauderdale through April 18, 2003 then spend the summer in Europe, sailing from Southampton.

*** Cruise facilities in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico were not damaged by Hurricane Kenna and cruise calls were not interrupted. The center of the storm struck about 80 miles north of Puerto Vallarta last Friday, October 25. No injuries were reported and inspections this week showed no significant structural damage to the major resorts n Puerto Vallarta. The city is open for business and tourism.

*** Holland America's new Zuiderdam, first of the vista-class ships, will be christened December 14, 2002 at ceremonies in Ft. Lauderdale. Joan Lunden, long-time co-host of ABC's Good Morning America and current host of A&E's Behind Close Doors & The Real Story, will serve as godmother. Zuiderdam will be the first of five Vista class vessels and becomes the line's year-round, seven-day Caribbean ship, sailing alternating Western and Eastern Caribbean itineraries from Fort Lauderdale. The 1,848-passenger ship has the highest passenger space ratio of all Holland America ships at 46.

*** Carnival has added another racing theme cruise in 2003, hosted by NASCAR Champion Rusty Wallace. The seven-day western Caribbean voyage aboard Carnival Victory is the fifth in the "Rusty Wallace Cruise" series. It will depart Miami Dec. 7, 2003, and visit Playa del Carmen/ Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Another "Rusty Wallace Cruise" aboard Carnival Triumph from Miami departing Dec. 7, 2002, to San Juan, St. Thomas/St. John and St. Maarten still has space available. Special events include exclusive Question-and-Answer and Autograph Sessions, 'Racing-Themed' Raffles.

*** Crystal Cruises is including a complimentary land package in Beijing on four cruises of Crystal Harmony next spring. The 14 and 15-night cruises sail between Yokohama, Japan and Beijing or Hong Kong and Beijing. The complimentary pre or post-cruise Beijing tour includes accommodations, sightseeing, transportation, all meals, porterage, gratuities and tour escort. Sailing dates are March 23, Yokohama to Beijing; March 31 Beijing to Hong Kong; April 15, Hong Kong to Beijing; April 24, Beijing to Yokohama.

*** Seabourn Cruise Line will return to Australia and New Zealand in 2004. Seabourn Spirit will sail from Singapore to Cairns, Australia for 11 days then from Cairns to Lyttleton (Christchurch), New Zealand. The "Yachtsman's New Zealand" cruise follows - a 14-day itinerary exploring the North and South Islands of New Zealand in depth, Waiheke Island, spending a night and full day in Auckland, visiting Russell in the scenic Bay of Islands then to Dravuni Island and Lautoka, Fiji, where the cruise ends. On February 14, 2004, Seabourn Spirit will reverse course for an additional 14-day voyage back to Lyttelton, and a 14-day return voyage to Cairns followed by cruises from Cairns to Hong Kong, Hong Kong to Singapore, Singapore to Mumbai, then to the Mediterranean. Seabourn Pride will once again circumnavigate South America from January 3 to March 15, 2004. Individual cruises of seven to 18 days exploring the Inca Coast, Patagonia and Cape Horn, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and the Amazon are available. Seabourn Legend repeats her two-week cruises of Panama Canal, Belize & Costa Rica between January 4 and February 28, 2004, sailing between Fort Lauderdale and Caldera (San Jose) Costa Rica. Early Booking Savings of 25 to 50 percent are offered on all cruises

*** Seabourn Cruise Line also announced a new incentive for travelers booking 2003 European cruises. Those who book and pay a deposit on the same day during the month of November with a $100 per person shipboard credit. The offer is for new bookings on 2003 cruises in Europe and the Mediterranean aboard the Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend.

*** Holland America Line's Prinsendam is undergoing a $25 million stateroom refurbishment. A new blue and gold floral and pattern fabric has been used for draperies, bedspreads and other softgood upgrades in all staterooms. A team of specialists sailed with the ship to install the new softgoods. Additional items replaced include verandah and window curtains, bedskirts, headboard coverings, pillows and lampshades. In most cabins, sofas were reupholstered and bathroom sinks replaced. Additional refurbishment includes cabin and corridor carpet replacement, tile and grout repairs, plumbing fixture repairs, verandah teak deck work and verandah furniture replacement. Future plans call for replacing the 134 verandah doors, which is planned to be done during the ship's next regularly scheduled drydock. Built in 1988 Prinsendam is the former Seabourn Sun and Royal Viking Sun. She joined Holland America last June for longer cruises worldwide.

*** Radisson's Seven Seas Mariner will feature two diverse, music theme cruises sailing from Ft. Lauderdale in December. The famous Rock'n Roll group, The Platters will be aboard the 10-night night "Spotlight on the Golden Oldies" cruise, December 2. On December 12, the seven-night "Spotlight on Classical Music" Caribbean sailing features legendary soprano and Tony Award winning actress, Anna Maria Alberghetti. Two-for-one prices for the Dec. 2 Seven Seas Mariner voyage start at $2,998 per person, with prices from $1,998 per person for the Dec. 12 cruise. Fares include all shipboard gratuities, wine with dinner and an in-suite bar set-up. Low-cost air add-ons are available from 84 gateways, from $299 per person.

*** The proposed Carnival-P&O Princess merger will result in some astounding statistics. Carnival Corporation would control 65 ships, 93,000 beds, 21 newbuilds and 53,000 employees. The P&O Princess shareholders meeting to vote on the deal is expected to take place February 14, 2003. Back to Top

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