News Archive - November 2003

11-28-03 Weekend Cruise News *** Star Princess has been breaking records in New Zealand and Australia this week as the 109,000-ton vessel became the biggest cruise ship to visit the ports of Auckland, Sydney and Melbourne. In Sydney, crowds lined Circular Quay to see the megaship which is too tall to sail under the Harbour Bridge. Star Princess remains in the region until March when she heads for Europe. For the 2004-2005 season, Star will be eclipsed by the 113-000-ton Sapphire Princess which takes over the Australia-New Zealand cruises between Sydney and Auckland. Princess Cruises 2004-2005 South Pacific brochure is now available. Princess offers the most extensive variety of cruises in the region with sailings aboard Tahitian Princess, Island Princess Pacific Princess and Sapphire Princess.

*** Empress of the North, the world's largest oceangoing sternwheeler, ran aground on the Columbia River on Thursday. One passenger and two crew members were injured. They were treated at a hospital and have been released. Empress of the North developed steering problems Thursday night while sailing 80 miles upriver from Portland, Oregon, enroute from Clarkston, Washington to Stevenson, Washington. The vessel was able to pull away from the river bank and tie up at a nearby barge dock. The remaining 57 passengers and 66 crew members stayed on board.

*** Carnival Cruise Lines' Jubilee will be redeployed to Jacksonville, Florida in May for Bahamas/Kew West cruises. The four- and five-night cruises from May 11 to August 26, 2004 sail alternating Thursdays to Freeport and Nassau (four nights) and alternating Mondays and Saturdays to Key West and Nassau (five nights). A special four-day introductory cruise on Tuesday, May 11 calls at Freeport and Nassau. Jubilee will be refitted and transferred to P&O Cruises Australia next October sailing as the Pacific Sun on South Pacific cruises.

*** Holland America Line will sail seven ships on 139 cruises to Alaska during the 2004 season. Holland America calls at Glacier Bay on 96 cruises next summer, more than any other cruise line. Every Glacier Bay visit includes commentary and presentations from a National Park Service ranger and the Huna Totem native speaker. Ships of HAL will also call at Hubbard Glacier and College Fjord. Oosterdam becomes the first Vista-class ship to sail on the west coast. She joins Amsterdam for seven-night Inside Passage cruises from Seattle. Zaandam and Volendam will call at both Glacier Bay and the twin Sawyer Glaciers in Tracy Arm on Inside Passage cruises round-trip from Vancouver. Three ships will sail between Vancouver and Seward, Alaska on one-way Glacier Discovery Cruises of seven nights. Departing on alternating Sundays, the Statendam and Veendam cruises feature Glacier Bay National Park and the sixteen glaciers of College Fjord. The Ryndam, embarking on Fridays, visits Hubbard Glacier. Aboard every Alaska cruise, Holland America offers a full-time naturalist to discuss and point out wildlife and key natural features, and a native artisan, affiliated with the Alaska Native Heritage Center, to showcase Alaskan native artistry. The "Artisans in Residence Program" features an Alaskan native artist on board demonstrating a traditional craft such as ivory or soapstone carving, basket weaving, or mask making.

*** Celebrity Cruises is planning to add an alternative restaurant and concierege-class cabins to the Century, Galaxy and Mercury in the near future. The success of these amenities aboard the Millennium-class ships has prompted the change.

*** Both Radisson Seven Seas Cruises and Windstar are offering free air to Tahiti for sailings aboard the Paul Gauguin and Wind Star from January to March, 2004:

  • Radisson Seen Seas is offering special savings plus free roundtrip economy airfare from 84 North American gateway cities from January 3 to March 27, 2004. Cruise fares start at $2,835 per person, including round-trip air, all shipboard gratuities, wine with lunch and dinner, soft drinks throughout and an in-stateroom bar set-up. The 320-passenger Paul Gauguin sails weekly voyages from Papeete, Tahiti, to Raiatea, Tahaa/Motu Mahana, Bora Bora and Moorea.
  • Windstar is offering air-inclusive cruise fares to and from Papeete from 78 North American gateways from January 2 through March 26, 2004. Air-inclusive seven-night cruises start at $2,995 per person based on double occupancy. The luxury sailing ship, Wind Star, carries 148-passengers on weekly explorations of French Polynesia including Raiatea, Huahine, Bora Bora, and Moorea.

*** Ship visits to Glacier Bay National Park will remain at 139 for the summer of 2004. The National Park Service will not increase the number to a potential 184 until further environmental studies are undertaken regarding the impact of cruise ships in Glacier Bay. This means one or two cruise ships will visit each day during the season which runs from May to September. A speed limit of 13 knots for ships 262 feet in length or longer is in effect when large numbers of whales are in the bay.

*** Discovery World Cruises has launched a new web site which includes helpful information for planning your expedition cruise. The new line offers destination-focused cruises at a moderate price with a full program of lectures and workshops at sea on all sailings. A list of suggested reading in preparation for your voyage is one of the items included on the web site. Discovery World Cruises' Chairman, Gerry Herrod, is well experienced in this style of cruising as he is the founder of Orient Lines, Pearl Cruises and Ocean Cruise Lines. The line has one ship, the 650-passenger Discovery which sailed Thursday from Lisbon on the first segment of a voyage to South America, Antarctica, the South Pacific, New Zealand, Hawaii, Mexico, Panama Canal, ending with a transatlantic crossing to Harwich, England next April. Originally built as the Island Venture in 1972, the 20,216-ton Discovery sailed for 17 years with Princess Cruises as the Island Princess. Visit the new site at

*** Crystal Cruises has launched a "kids sail free" promotion for Alaska next summer. Crystal Harmony will sail 12-night Alaska cruises, round-trip from San Francisco from May 30 to September 15, 2004. Ports of call are Victoria, Vancouver, Juneau, Skagway, Hubbard Glacier or Glacier Bay, Sitka and Ketchikan. Kids under 12 sailing in a triple stateroom with two adults sail for free. A fully supervised Junior Activities program is offered aboard ship for kids ages 17 and under. Crystal Harmony has a dedicated children's playroom outfitted with games, craft materials, Sony Playstation video games and personal computers with entertainment and education software while the Cotillion program for juniors teaches children social and dining etiquette and ballroom dancing. Back to Top

11-24-03 Caribbean Princess Arrives Early Princess Cruises' newest ship, the 116-ton Caribbean Princess will arrive two weeks sooner than originally announced. Her new inaugural voyage is scheduled April 3, 2004 from Ft. Lauderdale. The April 3 and 10 cruises will visit the western Caribbean ports of Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Montego Bay and Princess' private island, Princess Cays. Caribbean Princess, which will become the largest ship in the Princess fleet, sports new features designed specifically for Caribbean itineraries, such as a giant 300-square-foot LED poolside movie screen for watching Movies Under the Stars, Caribbean cuisine and the cruise line's first in-house Lotus Spa. The two new cruises will be available to book starting November 24, with rates starting at $699 per person, double occupancy. Additional information is available through a travel agent or by visiting Back to Top

11-24-03 New NCL Hawaii Packages Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has announced "Cruise-And-Stay" packages for Pride of Aloha Hawaii voyages effective Oct. 1, 2004. Passengers sailing on three- and four-day inter-island cruises may combine their cruise with car rental, transfers, gratuities and other amenities to form land/sea vacations ranging from seven to nine days. Pride of Aloha, currently sailing as Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Sky, will transfer to the NCL America U.S.-flag brand next fall. The Cruise-And-Stay packages feature three-, four-, five- and six-night hotel stays at Honolulu's Hilton Hawaiian Village, Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Sheraton Moana Surfrider plus Kona's Hilton Waikoloa Village and Maui's Sheraton Maui. Each package also includes hotel taxes and bellman gratuities, admission to the historic Bishop Museum with a discount for the museum's gift shop, and transportation between the hotel and the pier.

Cruise-And-Stay passengers receive a number of benefits including priority embarkation, express luggage delivery to the ship, and support through the hotel-based NCL Service Center at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort, where passengers may check-in for their cruise, pre-book shore excursions and register for a variety of activities at their convenience.

For additional information, consult a travel agent or go to Back to Top

11-21-03 Weekend Cruise News *** CostaFortuna will be christened on Saturday in Genoa with Italian actress Maria Grazia Cucinotta serving as godmother. The ceremonies will include the production show "Transatlantic Liners. The Art of Italian Navigation," which takes the audience back through time, from the CostaFortuna to the legendary Italian liners of the past. The on board décor of the new flagship also represents the history of the great Italian liners and has been described as designer Joe Farcus' best work to date. After her christening, CostaFortuna will sail to Savona for the official opening of the "Palacrociere", the new cruise terminal co-financed and managed by Costa Crociere. Costa's new flagship will then depart on her 10-night maiden voyage to Spain, Morocco and the Canary Islands. Following a year of Mediterranean cruises, Fortuna will sail to Ft. Lauderdale for 2004-2005 winter Caribbean cruises.

*** Regal Princess begins her season of Hawaii cruises, round-trip from Los Angeles tomorrow. The 15-night voyages call at Hilo and Kona on the "big island" of Hawaii; Honolulu, Oahu; Nawiliwili, Kauai and Lahaina, Maui. The day in Honolulu features an 15-hour stay from 8am to 11pm. Regal Princess sails to Hawaii through April 20, 2004. The new Island Princess takes over this program next fall sailing Hawaii cruises from September 21, 2004 through April 19, 2005.

*** Regatta makes her North American debut when she arrives in Miami on Monday morning. Regatta will be escorted by a flotilla of pleasure craft and tug boats with a traditional water cannon salute as she sails down Government Cut to Dodge Island. In celebration of the occasion, Oceania Cruises is sponsoring a gala charity fundraiser on November 24 to benefit the Holtz Center for Maternal and Child Health at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. 500 VIP guests, supporters and Oceania Cruises executives have raised $250,000 to benefit the Holtz Center. They will sail aboard Regatta on the "Overnight Cruise To Remember" featuring headline entertainment by Grammy award winning musical artist John Secada. The 684-passenger Regatta is currently sailing a 14 night transatlantic voyage from Lisbon. Miami will be the ship's home port for Caribbean voyages to Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama and Jamaica. The balance of her winter season will find her cruising on 10- to 14-day voyages to the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Central America and Mexico. Oceania Cruises' second vessel, Insignia, will debut in Europe on April 3, 2004 followed by Nautica in the spring of 2005.

*** Holland America is testing its new dinner schedule on the Veendam and Zuiderdam before introducing it fleetwide. There will be four dining room seatings in place of two, during the evening. The change is part of HAL's program of fleet enhancements announced last week as the "Signature of Excellence" initiative. (See 11-14-03 Weekend Cruise News below for more details).

*** Crystal Cruises' Creative Learning Institute expands fleetwide in 2004. The program will launch aboard Crystal Symphony during her first cruise in January, a 12-day Panama Canal sailing from Ft. Lauderdale to Caldera, Costa Rica and aboard Crystal Harmony in Hawaii next February. Crystal Serenity rolled out the program last July. The complimentary program features classes on a wide range of subjects focusing on improving wellness and enhancing quality of life. Instructors come on board from leading institutions including Yamaha, Berlitz, The Cleveland Clinic, Tai Chi Cultural Center, Parsons School of Design, Society of Wine Educators, Pepperdine University, and Barnes& The Creative Learning Institute will be offered year-round on every cruise. It is the latest development in Crystal's Crystal Visions Enrichment Program of celebrity guest lecturers.

*** Princess Cruises is sharing its Holiday recipes online. The Princess Holiday Recipe Collection includes a variety of dishes from the line's most requested recipe - Beef Wellington - to its signature Black Star Liner martini. The dishes, one for every ship in the Princess fleet, as well as bartender notes to create three of Princess' signature cocktails, were taken from the recently published "Courses: A Culinary Journey" which is for sale only on Princess vessels. The Princess Holiday Recipe Collection is free, and is available at

*** Royal Caribbean is giving away nine cruises in its new family cruise sweepstakes. By completing a questionnaire at the line's web site through January 31, 2004, families have a chance to win one of three grand prizes - a seven-night cruise for 12 to Alaska, Europe, or the Caribbean, on select ships - or one of three First Prizes - a seven-night Caribbean cruise for four on a Voyager-family ship. In addition, on November 27, Thanksgiving Day, all visitors to can enter to win one of three Bonus Sweepstakes - a three or four-night Bahamas cruise for four. Winners will be selected on or about Feb. 6, 2004. Complete rules and regulations are available at

*** Cruise West is the first cruise line to sail the Portland Canal fjord to the sister communities of Hyder, Alaska and Stewart, British Columbia. Bear watching is at the center of the excursion from the port, which replaces Metlakatla on several "Alaska's Inside Passage" sailings next July and August. From Hydra, passengers are taken to Fish Creek during the salmon spawning season. At the U.S. Forest Service facility manned by a park ranger, visitors are allowed to safely observe and photograph black and grizzly bears in the wild as they fish for salmon, storing calories for their long winter hibernation. The eight-night Inside Passage sailings from Ketchikan to Juneau also call at Petersburg, Sitka, Haines and Skagway as well as sailing in Misty Fjords, Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay.

*** Orient Lines' Marco Polo returns to Antarctica for her 10th season in 2004. The vessel was specially redesigned for Antarctic cruising in 1993 with the hull strengthened for sailing in icy conditions. Orient Lines will offer 14 Antarctica Cruisetours between Dec. 27, 2003 and February 10, 2005, with each voyage accompanied by a team of scientists, naturalists and explorers led by Nigel Sitwell, an internationally recognized naturalist. Sitwell created Orient Lines' Antarctica program with the late travel pioneer, Lars Erik-Lindblad who brought the first tourists to Antarctica in 1965. On January 17, 2004 and January 14, 2005, Sitwell will lead the "Antarctica & South Georgia" cruisetour which retraces the route of Sir Ernest Shackelton and the crew of the Endurance. Passengers will follow in Shackelton's path across the Scotia Sea to South Georgia Island. Depending on ice, weather and wildlife, landings are also planned for Grytviken on South Georgia Island (site of Shackelton's grave); Elephant Island, where Endurance's crew was marooned, and Coronation Island. Passengers will also approach fur seals at Elsehul and Gold Harbor's king penguins via Zodiac craft.

*** The 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle debuts February 27, 2004, sailing Carnival's first voyages from Jacksonville. The three to six-day Western Caribbean/Bahamas cruises will be followed by Bahamas sailings from Baltimore in April-May and September-October, and Florida/Bahamas cruises from New York, June through August. From November 7, 2004, Carnival Miracle will be based in Tampa for year-round cruises to Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Belize. On board Miracle, the many sports options include golf instruction from a Pro and excursions to the following courses: Key West Country Club - Key West; Cable Beach Golf Course, Nassau; Cozumel Country Club; Lucayan Country Club, Freeport; Savannahs at Sykes Creek, Port Canaveral; The Links at Safe Haven, Grand Cayman,; Caye Chapel Golf Resort, Belize and Playacar Club de Golf, Playa del Carmen.

*** Clipper Cruise Line has added a glass-bottom boat to its Zodiac fleet aboard the 128-passenger Clipper Odyssey which sails in the South Pacific this winter. The voyages include a 14-night expedition to the Great Barrier Reef, exploration of New Zealand's north and south islands and a South Pacific voyage from Auckland to Cairns via New Caledonia. The Zodiacs give passengers a chance to go ashore in remote locations while the glass-bottom boat enables sealife viewing excursions right from the ship. Back to Top

11-17-03 Shipyard Accident Toll at 15 - Chantiers de l'Atlantique Update The Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard accident has now claimed 15 victims where the temporary gangway that was constructed to allow access to the Queen Mary 2, still under construction, collapsed on Saturday. The French government said that a criminal investigation into charges of involuntary homicide will be made against the company responsoble for constructing the gangway.

The ship has not yet been delivered to Cunard Lines, a subsidiary of Carnival Cruise Lines. The accident involved friends and relatives of the shipyard workers who were involved in the construction of the ship. Cunard still expects to take delivery of the ship on schedule and still plans to make its first commercial sailing on January 12. Back to Top

11-16-03 13 People Die in Shipyard Accident Chantiers de l'Atlantique, the shipyard constructing the Queen Mary 2, the world's largest cruise ship which has yet to be delivered to Cunard Lines, suffered an accident in which 13 people died and 32 were injured when a gangway collapsed. Most were workers and their families on a special tour of the nearly completed ship.

Dozens of people were on the ramp at the time of the accident, which sent them plunging 50 feet to the ground. The ship was balanced on blocks in a dry dock. The company who installed the special gangway from the quay to the ship in dry dock specializes in scaffolding and gangways for ships both at sea and in dry dock. There was no immediate explanation of the cause of the collapse. An investigation is under way.

"To the best of our knowledge, the ship will sail Jan. 12, as scheduled," said Julie Davis, a spokeswoman in Miami for Cunard.

Cunard Lines issued a statement offering "thoughts and prayers" for the victims and their families. It made no comment on the accident itself. French President Jacques Chirac is to visit the shipyard on Sunday. Workers and their families had been invited to visit the vessel over the weekend and the gangway was installed Friday especially for their visit. As they crowded onto the gangway, the structure collapsed, pulling down scaffolding holding it up at one end.

"The passage gave way and we fell about 50 feet," said Jason Schmitt, a worker who escaped without injury. "I fell with a minimum of 30 people," he told France-2 television. Thirteen people were killed, according to the Operational Fire and Rescue Center. Of the 32 people injured, 10 were hospitalized in serious condition. No children were injured, rescue workers said, retracting an earlier statement of one injured child. Dozens of firefighters and rescue workers rushed to the scene, setting up medical units to treat the injured.

Philippe Bouquet-Nadeaud, the shipyard's head of human resources, said the gangway was installed Friday by a company specialized in scaffolding for boats. The accident came just four days after ship completed its second successful sea trial. The first was in September.

The Queen Mary 2 is the world's largest passenger ship at 1,132 feet long and 238 feet high � as tall as a 21-story building. It measures in at a hefty 150,000 gross registered tons. It is also the most expensive, costing $800 million to build. Once completed, the QM2 will feature a planetarium, 22 elevators and the world's largest floating library. The inaugural voyage is sold out, and the whole season of sailings was opened to booking in August 2002, so many reservations have been made, said Davis, the Cunard spokeswoman.

The QM2 is being built by Alstom Marine's Chantiers de l'Atlantique, and some 800 companies, mostly French, have been involved in the construction. Chantiers de l'Atlantique says it has received at least 150,000 letters from people asking to come aboard for a look.

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11-14-03 Weekend Cruise News *** Mariner of the Seas will be christened today at ceremonies in Port Canaveral with Olympian and Paralympian Jean Driscoll acting as godmother. The fifth Voyager-class ship, Mariner carries 3,114 passengers and will be the largest vessel to sail from Port Canaveral year-round. Mariner will sail Sundays on alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises to either Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten or Labadee, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

*** In other newbuild news, Queen Mary 2 has successfully completed her second round of sea trials and is scheduled for delivery between December 21 and 23, 2003. The expedition cruise ship Orion was christened in Emden, Germany this week. The 3,984-ton ship carries 106 passengers and has an ice-strengthened hull. She will sail expedition cruises, including Antarctica, for New York-based Travel Dynamics International. Construction is complete on Viking River Cruises' Century Star which the company will deploy in China for Yangtze River cruisetours beginning next March. The 186-passenger vessel features a 180-degree observation lounge for scenic viewing.

*** Passengers aboard Holland America will see some major changes over the next two years, including boarding from 11:30am and a change in tipping policy. The changes are part of the premium line's $225 million "Signature of Excellence" initiative. The program will introduce numerous enhancements to dining, accommodations, service, activities and destinations aboard the 12 ships in the HAL fleet. The new Westerdam, entering service next April and the un-named newbuild entering service in January 2006 will be specially designed to incorporate the changes. Here are some highlights:

  • Early embarkation is available now. Passengers may board from 11:30am to enjoy the Welcome Aboard Lido buffet, tour the ship and make spa appointments and arrange shore excursions until cabins are ready - usually around 1:00pm. Carry-on luggage and coats can be checked with ship staff.
  • The new tipping system is designed to simplify the sometimes confusing "no tipping policy" which has been a hallmark of HAL. While tipping will still be optional on HAL ships, "nominal" gratuities will be automatically added to the shipboard account. These can be increased, decreased or removed by visiting the front desk. A service charge will be automatically added to bar bills.
  • New areas aboard ship will include specially designed theaters for the new Culinary Arts Program, expansion of spa and fitness facilities, upgraded HAL Kids Centers and the new Sidewalk Cafe/Exploration Center will be the hub of the expanded enrichment programs.
  • Other highlights include two more dining times in the main dining room, table-side waiter service at dinner in the Lido, upgraded soft goods and hardware in cabins, the addition of one-of-a-kind "Medallion Shore Excursions" and improvements to Half Moon Cay, HAL's private island in the Caribbean.

***Windstar Cruises also announced enhancements to its fleet this week. The $6 million project is already underway with the Wind Surf's improvements completed on November 9. All three ships are receiving extensive improvements to public spaces, soft goods, pool and deck areas and more. Enhancements to lounges will feature the addition of the latest in audio/visual equipment; newly commissioned sculptures and signature floral displays for reception lobbies; and the installation of new color schemes, soft goods, and entertainment centers with DVDs and flat screen TVs in all guest accommodations. Wind Spirit enters a week's dry-dock from November 16 through 22, 2003 and Wind Star goes into dry-dock from December 5 to 19, 2003.

*** Carnival Cruise Lines has increased the amount of gratuities, automatically added to shipboard accounts, from $9.75 to $10. per passengers per day. The amount is the same for prepaid gratuities. This breaks down to $3.60 for the Cabin steward; $5.50 for the dining room team and .90 for alternative dining room staff.

*** Celebrity has joined with Bon Appetit Magazine for eight, "Savor the Caribbean" Food and Wine-Themed cruises with guest chefs aboard each sailing. The special cruises will take place aboard Constellation on seven-night sailings from San Juan from February 7 through March 27, 2004. Every Savor the Caribbean cruise will include a Bacardi sailaway party, daily culinary activities, a demonstration by the guest chef during the day at sea, a Caribbean-themed deck party and private rum tastings and suggested wine pairings led by noted spirits authorities. Ports of call are Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic; Bridgetown, Barbados; St. Georges, Grenada; St. John's, Antigua; and Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. Special shore excursions include a private cooking class in the Dominican Republic, a tour of the Mount Gay Rum Factory and tea at Sunbury Plantation in Barbados, a private lunch in the gardens of Blackbeard's Castle, a private visit to Antigua's Harmony Hall Inn with its owners, and a class focused on exotic island spices at the hot, new "Rhodes Restaurant" in Grenada's Calabash Hotel.

*** Radisson Seen Seas has a number of celebrity guests lined up for the Seven Seas Voyager's Grand Asia Pacific Voyage which departs Los Angeles on January 10, 2004. TV journalists Peter Arnett, Catherine Crier and Garrick Utley, as well as former CIA and FBI head William H. Webster, former attorney general Dick Thornburgh and political satirist Mark Russell will be on board at various times during the cruise. Also on board will be Smithsonian Institution lecturers distinguished for their contributions in the arts, sciences, government services and the media. The Grand Asia Pacific Voyage features complimentary shore side events, optional overland tours and hands-on Le Cordon Bleu culinary workshops. The 94-night voyage is available in segments: Los Angeles to Sydney, 22 nights January 10, 2004; Sydney to Perth, 20 nights, February 2, 2004; Perth to Hong Kong, 18 nights, February 22, 2004; Hong Kong to Tokyo, 18 nights, March 11, 2004; Tokyo to Los Angeles, 16 nights, March 29, 2004. Former congresswoman Patricia Schroeder and former national security adviser Robert McFarlane will be onboard a post-Grand Voyage Panama Canal transit on April 13, 2004.

*** Carnival Cruise Lines will operate a record 57 sailings from New York City in 2004. The line's schedule from New York includes the new Carnival Miracle sailing seven-day cruises to Port Canaveral/Orlando and The Bahamas; Carnival Victory sailing four- and five-day Canada and seven-day "fall foliage" voyages and Carnival Legend sailing eight-day Caribbean sailings and a one-time, six-night, cruise April 23, 2004 to Newport, Rhode Island and Bermuda.

*** Costa Cruises' Europe program for 2004 includes cruises to the Eastern and Western Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Spain/Portugal, Norwegian Fjords/North Cape, Baltic/Russia and Scotland/Iceland. The nine ships of the Costa fleet will sail from the ports of Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Civitavecchia (Rome), Genoa, Savona and Venice, on three to 17-night cruises. Costa's new flagship, the 105,000-ton, 2,270-passenger CostaFortuna will be the largest ship in the fleet and the largest ever Italian cruise ship. Fortuna sails seven-night cruises to Tunisia, Spain and France April 25 through October 24, 2004. For the winter, Fortuna will sail from Ft. Lauderdale to the Caribbean following a 16-night transatlantic voyage from Genoa to Ft. Lauderdale November 2, 2004. CostaAllegra, CostaEuropa and CostaAtlantica will sail the Northern routes from Amsterdam and Copenhagen while the rest of the fleet homeports in the Mediterranean. Back to Top

11-7-03 Weekend Cruise News *** Cruise ships are being redeployed to Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale) this month, during the Free Trade of the Americas summit being held near the Port of Miami. The summit is expected to attract 100,000 visitors to the downtown area, adjacent to the port, causing congestion and disrupting cruise operations. Affected ships include Carnival Cruise Lines' Paradise, Carnival Triumph, Carnival Victory, Fascination and Imagination on sailings through November 22; Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas sails round-trip from Port Everglades on the November 17 and 21 cruises; Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Dawn will call at Ft. Lauderdale in place of Miami on November 19 during her cruise from New York.

*** Pride of America was floated out from Lloyd Werft shipyard in Germany last week. The first newbuild for NCL America is on target to arrive in Boston on May 8, 2004 and call at 15 North American ports before arriving in Honolulu, her year-round homeport. Naming ceremonies are scheduled for July 4, 2004, the day the 72,000-ton, 2,146-passenger ship commence year-round, seven-night Hawaii cruises from Honolulu. Ports of call are Nawiliwili, Kauai (overnight); Hilo, Hawaii; Kona, Hawaii and Kahului, Maui (overnight). Pride will be in port every day with scenic cruising on Tuesday afternoon and evening.

*** Carnival Cruise Lines has launched online embarkation which allows passengers to jump the queue when they arrive at their ship. Passengers who register prior to 40 days before sailing will receive a "FunPass" with their documents, allowing them to "fast track" through embarkation procedures at the pier. Passengers may register up to two days prior to sailing and may also print their own "FunPass" once the registration process is complete. As for any security concerns, the new system is in accordance with the new DHS regulations. Carnival president and CEO Bob Dickinson said ""With today's stricter security measures and data-collecting requirements, we wanted to develop a system that complies with the new DHS regulations while enabling our guests to board their 'Fun Ship' cruise in the quickest and most efficient manner possible." The new system will be available Nov. 25, 2003 for Carnival departures beginning Dec. 15, 2003. Passengers may register for their cruise at any point after initial deposit is made. To access, log on to and click on the "OnLine FunPass" icon. Those who do not have Internet access may contact Carnival's reservations department to have a registration form faxed to them. Completed forms may be returned to Carnival via a special toll-free fax number, no later than five business days prior to sailing.

*** Changes were made to public rooms for adults and teens aboard Disney Magic during her recent drydock. Adults-only additions are the Cove Cafe, added to existing adult areas on deck 9, and Diversions, a traditional pub featuring a variety of evening entertainment, sporting events, piano sing-alongs, trivia quizzes and talent competitions under the direction of the Pub Master. Diversions replaces the Off Beat nightclub. The teen club, Common Grounds, has been replaced by the adults-only Cove Cafe, so teens have a new space aptly called The Stack, located in the forward funnel on deck 11. (This area was formerly the ESPN Skybox.) The Stack has two separate areas for younger and older teens, a dance floor, TV, Internet access and snacks are available.

*** Clipper Cruise Line has five Baja and Sea of Cortez Whale-Watching Expeditions planned for February and March 2004. Traveling round-trip from La Paz, Yorktown Clipper will cruise off the protected area of San Carlos during peak whale-watching season. Only a few small cruise ships are given permits to visit the area. Yorktown Clipper will carry 140 passengers on the expedition to view gray, humpback, fin, minke, and blue whales. Motorized-landing craft will allow passengers a firsthand view of the whales. A number of marine biologists and naturalists will be on board conducting informal discussions and leading hikes ashore. Five departures of Clipper's Baja and Sea of Cortez Whale-Watching Expedition are scheduled for February 15, 21, 29 and March 6 and 14, 2004.

*** Carnival Miracle, is set to debut Feb. 27, 2004, from Jacksonville, Florida, the first time Carnival has operated from the port. The newest spirit-class ship, sister of Carnival Spirit, Pride and Legend, is 88,500-tons and carries 2,124 passengers. Carnival ship architect Joe Farcus has created on board decor inspired by a wide variety of fictional characters which means each public area evokes its own mood. The lobby lounge is called the Jeeves Lounge, after the fictional butler of P.G. Wodehouse's novels while the foyer is the Batman-inspired Gotham Lounge. Amongst the many, diverse works represented on board are Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland", the stories of C.S. Forester, Frankenstein comic books, Lloyd Webber's musical "The Phantom of the Opera," Edgar Allen Poe's poem "The Raven, the movies "Citizen Kane", Jerry McGuire" and "Casablanca" and F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby". Farcus has chosen Clio, the muse of history and creator of the Greek alphabet as a thematic symbol for Carnival Miracle. Since Clio inspires the art of writing and creation of fictional characters, all major doors in public areas are adorned with multihued wood inlays of the muse. Carnival Miracle is slated to debut from Jacksonville Feb. 27, 2004, with a series of 12 three- to six-day voyages through April 17, 2004. The ship will also operate seven-day departures from Baltimore and New York before repositioning to Tampa for year-round seven-day western Caribbean cruises from that port beginning Nov. 7, 2004.

*** The U.S. Coast Guard has recognized a number of cruise ships in its project "quality shipping for the 21st century". Known as Qualship 21, the project recognizes foreign-flagged vessels of all types which demonstrate a commitment to safety and quality and comply with environmental and health regulations. The October 9, 2003 listing includes the cruise ships Caronia, QE2 (Cunard Line); Maasdam, Noordam, Rotterdam, Zaandam (Holland America Line); Pacific Princess, Regal Princess, Sun Princess, Dawn Princess, Royal Princess (Princess Cruises); Rhapsody, Sovereign, Splendour, Monarch, Majesty and Enchantment of the Seas (Royal Caribbean); A'rosa Blu (A'rosa Line); Star Clipper (Star Clippers); Oceana, Oriana (P&O Cruises).

*** Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises President and COO Jack Williams raised $300,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation last Sunday by running the New York City Marathon. Williams trained for 10 months, logging more than 700 miles and losing 20 pounds. He completed the marathon in 5 hours and 18 minutes. A long-time supporter and board member of the CF Foundation, Williams has helped raise more than $30 million for the cause. RCI announced the next fund-raising event for Cystic Fibrosis will be "Shine Miami", a weekend event beginning January 30, 2004 which will feature a star-studded golf tournament, concert under the stars at Bayfront Park, a full-day fishing tournament and a black-tie gala dinner with silent auctions and live entertainment. Back to Top

11-5-03 Sapphire Princess Delayed The first four Alaska sailings of the new Sapphire Princess have been canceled according to Princess Cruises. The ship will debut on June 13, 2004, about a month later than originally scheduled, sailing one-week cruises from Seattle. Passengers booked on the canceled sailings will receive a $50 on-board credit and will be moved to the identical Diamond Princess, sailing a similar itinerary departing on Saturdays. Back to Top

11-5-03 Court rejects petition to declare Society Expeditions bankrupt A bankruptcy court in Seattle has dismissed a petition that sought to have Society Expeditions declared bankrupt. The involuntary bankruptcy petition had been filed by Patrician Cruises and its U.S. partners, which claimed to be the company's major creditor�although Society Expeditions disputed the alleged debt. Society said the court not only denied the bankruptcy petition, but also ruled that Society can seek compensation from Patrician for the expenses and damage that it incurred as a result of the original filing.

"We have said from the beginning that there were no grounds for bankruptcy, and that the petition was an improper attempt by the petitioners to acquire the company," said John Tillotson, Society's vice president of operations. The company's ship, World Discoverer, is winding up a scheduled series of South Pacific cruises and then will offer seven Antarctica sailings. Back to Top

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