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May 30, 2005

Sea Princess Stars in Absolutely Fabulous Southampton Naming Ceremony

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Sea Princess Stars in Absolutely Fabulous Southampton Naming Ceremony
British Actress Joanna Lumley Headlines Hollywood-themed Event as Ship Re-joins Princess Fleet

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (May 26, 2005) - Sea Princess officially re-joined the Princess fleet today during a star-studded ceremony in her current home port of Southampton. British actress Joanna Lumley, best known for her role as 'Patsy' in the hit comedy "Absolutely Fabulous," became the ship's godmother as she released the traditional bottle of champagne to break against the ship.

The vessel regained her former name during a ceremony that celebrated the ship's newest feature, "Movies Under the Stars," with a Hollywood premiere theme. Joining the festivities were Oscar®-winning actress Goldie Hawn as well as British stars Brenda Blethyn, Tina Hobley, Michelle Collins, Craig Fairbrass, Amanda Holden, Anthea Turner, Collin Salmon, Linda Barker, Ruby Wax and Floella Benjamin.

The ceremony, a fund-raising event for Bernardo's, the UK's leading children's charity, celebrated Hollywood glamour as the ship's pool areas was transformed into a re-creation of a movie set with classic movie moments shown on the 300-square-foot "Movies Under the Stars" screen. Guests also enjoyed a gala dinner in the ship's dining room, movie-themed entertainment and a dramatic fireworks display.

The 1,950-passenger Sea Princess has sailed for the past two years as the P&O Cruises ship Adonia. The ship returns to the Princess fleet this month, launching a new series of European cruises from Southampton. During the fall-spring season, Sea Princess will move to the Caribbean to offer 14-day roundtrip cruises from Ft. Lauderdale. In addition to the ship's new "Movies Under the Stars" poolside movie screen, the vessel sports two main dining rooms and showlounges, a premium Sterling Steakhouse and pizzeria, a 24-hour restaurant, seven lounges and bar areas, four pools, an Internet café, comprehensive children's and teens' centers, and more than 400 of Princess' hallmark private balconies.

Press Release by Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises Alaska Cruise Information
Princess Cruises Alaska Cruisetour Information
Princess Cruises Tahiti Cruise Information
Princess Cruises Mexico Cruise Information
Princess Cruises Europe Cruise Information

Posted by Denise at 12:23 PM

May 27, 2005

Celebrity Cruises Maintains Lead In Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Survey

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CELEBRITY MAINTAINS LEAD IN CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER READERS' SURVEY
Premium Cruise Line Holds Seven of Top 11 Spots, Including Number One and Two

Miami, FL (January 31, 2005 ) - 'Three-peats' aren't just limited to the world of sports. For the third consecutive year, Celebrity Cruises has swept Condé Nast Traveler's readers' survey ranking "The Best Cruise Ships in the World."

Seven Celebrity ships - every ship in the fleet that falls into the large-ship category - ranked in the top 11 in the annual survey, results of which are published in the February 2005 edition. Infinity and Constellation ranked first and second, respectively, bettering their scores of 2004, which were then the highest in the history of the survey. Mercury, Summit and Galaxy ranked fourth, fifth and sixth, Millennium ranked ninth, and Century 11th. The balance of Celebrity's fleet - the 1,354-guest Horizon and Zenith - were among those honored in the medium-ship category.

The savvy subscribers of Condé Nast Traveler evaluated ships on five criteria: itineraries, crew/service, cabins/design, food/dining, and activities/excursions. Celebrity made a clean sweep of the survey's rankings in the category of food/dining - with Constellation, Infinity and Galaxy shutting out the competition. The same held true for Constellation, Infinity and Galaxy, honored as the best of the best in the area of crew/service.

"Very few surveys mean more than Condé Nast Traveler's, so this is a particularly meaningful validation of what we're doing at Celebrity," said the line's President & COO Jack Williams. "We've built increasing momentum and excitement behind the brand, and this recognition reinforces what we're doing, and encourages us to continue."

Celebrity Cruises is the industry's highest rated premium cruise brand with a taste of luxury. The cruise line has 10 ships in its fleet, which sails in Alaska, Bermuda, California, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, the Mexican Riviera, the Panama Canal and South America. In addition, Celebrity Xpeditions offer exotic travel experiences in the Galapagos Islands, the Arctic, and Antarctica. For more information call #1-800-738-8837.

Press Release by Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises Alaska Cruise Information
Celebrity Cruises Alaska Cruisetour Packages
Celebrity Cruises Mexican Riviera Cruise Information
Celebrity Cruises European Cruise Information

Posted by Denise at 09:03 AM

May 26, 2005

Princess Cruises NEW 2006 Alaska Cruises & Cruisetours

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Princess Announces 2006 Alaska Cruise & Cruisetour Programs

Princess Announces 2006 Alaska Inside Passage Cruise Program
Sun Princess and Dawn Princess to Offer Seattle Sailings; Regal Princess Returns to San Francisco

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (May 9, 2005) - Two of Princess' most popular vessels will make their debut on the line's Seattle-based Alaska Inside Passage itinerary in 2006. Sister ships Sun Princess and Dawn Princess will take over the seven-day roundtrip voyages through some of southeastern Alaska's most dramatic scenery. They are joined once again by Regal Princess' 10-day sailings from San Francisco.

In total the line will offer 51 Inside Passage cruises on three itineraries, each featuring the convenience of departing from an easily accessible home port. The Inside Passage program also affords passengers the opportunity to add a land tour to the Canadian Rockies or take advantage of the many attractions in the ships' home ports with pre- or post-cruise stays in Seattle or San Francisco.

These roundtrip cruises complement Princess' other 2006 Alaska option, the "Voyage of the Glaciers" Gulf of Alaska itinerary, available on four ships, sailing between Vancouver and Whittier.

"Sun Princess and Dawn Princess offer the perfect onboard experience for cruising through the Inside Passage," s aid Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales. "With fewer passengers than ships of comparable size, these vessels offer a great combination of intimate feel and diverse onboard choices plus the ships' many balconies are perfect for viewing the spectacular scenery of Alaska."

Sun Princess and Dawn Princess From Seattle:
The 1,950-passenger Sun Princess and Dawn Princess take over the line's seven-day roundtrip sailings from Seattle with an itinerary that features Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and Victoria, plus cruise through the dramatic glaciers, rock walls and waterfalls of Tracy Arm and the twin Sawyer Glaciers. Dawn Princess will offer 19 voyages departing on Saturdays between May 13 and September 16, 2006, while Sun Princess will offer 19 voyages Sunday departures, beginning May 14 and continuing through September 17.

Regal Princess from San Francisco:
The 1,590-passenger Regal Princess will again sail roundtrip from "The City by the Bay" on 13 departures between May 16 and September 13. The 10-day Inside Passage itinerary from San Francisco features calls at Victoria, Juneau and two other scenic Alaska ports that rotate between Ketchikan, Sitka, Skagway, Haines or Icy Strait Point. All voyages also offer premiere glacier viewing with cruising through Tracy Arm.

Canadian Rockies Cruisetours:
Passengers who would like to add a Canadian Rockies adventure to their cruise have two tour options designed specifically to coordinate with Inside Passage cruises from Seattle. Princess' escorted itineraries take guests to the heart of these spectacular mountains with visits to Banff, Jasper, Calgary and Kamloops, along with other local highlights. These 13-night cruisetour packages feature stays at the area's premiere Fairmont resort properties such as the Chateau Lake Louise, Banff Springs Hotel, Palliser Hotel and Jasper Park Lodge.

Princess Leads in Gulf of Alaska Cruises in 2006
New Diamond and Sapphire to Join Coral and Island on Popular Route
*** Sailings Combine with Extensive Cruisetour Program Featuring Exclusive Direct to the Wilderness Rail Service

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (May 2, 2005) - Two of Princess' newest state-of-the-art vessels, Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess, will join Coral Princess and Island Princess for the 2006 Gulf of Alaska cruise and cruisetours season. With the deployment of these ships on the Vancouver/Whittier itinerary, Princess' will again offer more seven-night Gulf of Alaska cruises than any other line.

The four ships will sail on 71 voyages, and each of these cruises can be combined with one of 20 Alaska land tour options for a complete land and sea cruisetour. All Gulf of Alaska cruisetours feature Alaska's most sought-after natural attractions - Glacier Bay National Park, College Fjord and two nights at Denali National Park - and many offer Princess' exclusive Direct to the Wilderness train service, the most convenient way for passengers to travel to Princess' two Denali-area wilderness lodges.

"By dedicating our newest and most amenity-filled ships to our Gulf of Alaska route, we're really reaffir ming our commitment to this fantastic itinerary," said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. "These vessels represent the youngest and most innovative fleet sailing the Gulf of Alaska, and are perfect for enjoying the stunning scenery of Glacier Bay, the 16 glaciers of College Fjord and the incredible Inside Passage. And only Princess offers these two attractions plus at least two nights in the Denali area on ever cruisetour - another example of how we strive to offer our customers the Alaska they want to see."

Voyage of the Glaciers:
Princess' signature "Voyage of the Glaciers" itinerary travels between Vancouver and Whittier with calls offering passengers the opportunity to explore Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, plus cruising through the spectacular scenery of College Fjord, the Inside Passage and Alaska's number one attraction, Glacier Bay National Park. The 2006 season runs between May 13 and September 18, with 2,670-passenger sister ships Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess sailing on 35 cruises with alternating Saturday departures. Returning 1,970-passenger sister ships Coral Princess and Island Princess will set sail 36 times, departing on Mondays for either a northbound or southbound cruise.

Between them, these amenity-laden vessels offer nearly 2,100 standard balcony cabins and 750 mini-suites, perfect for enjoying the stunning scenery throughout the cruise.

Cruisetour Options:
All Gulf of Alaska cruises can be combined with one of 20 land tours in Alaska or two tour options in the Canadian Rockies. Passengers can choose from three- to eight-night land packages to create a comprehensive 10- to 15-night land/sea vacation.

Not only do all Princess Alaska tours offer at least two nights in the Denali National Park area, but passengers can travel directly to their Princess lodge from the ship with Princess' exclusiv e Direct to the Wilderness rail service. This industry first debuted this year and has trains waiting right at the Whittier cruise ship dock to offer passengers the only same day luxury rail service between the ship and Denali Park. Guests have the option of choosing to arrive at either of the two Denali-area Princess wilderness lodges, ensuring that they enjoy more time among the wilderness and wildlife they came to see.

Princess' Alaska cruisetours include accommodation at five of the state's most luxurious properties, with scenic riverside settings in some of the "Great Land's" most desirable wilderness locations. The recently expanded Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge house Denali-area visitors, while the company's Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge and Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge are set, respectively, among the dramatic beauty of the Kenai Peninsula and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. The Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge also offers quality accommodations in the heart of Alaska's interior with views of the Chena River.

Passengers can also choose from two deluxe escorted cruisetours through the Canadian Rockies featuring stays in several of the area's top quality hotels and featuring the services of a professional tour director.

Gulf of Alaska cruises and cruisetours for 2006 are available for reservations on April 29, 2005, with special early-booking fares beginning at $649 for a seven-day voyage, and $1,399 for cruisetours.

Press Releases by Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises Alaska Cruise Information
Princess Cruises Alaska Cruisetour Information

ONE DAY CRUISE SALE! May 28th on 2005 & 2006 Alaska Cruises & Cruisetours!

Posted by Denise at 10:15 AM

May 17, 2005

The Collaboration Continues Between Winstar Cruises And Culinary Master Joachim Splichal

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THE COLLABORATION CONTINUES BETWEEN WINDSTAR CRUISES AND CULINARY MASTER JOACHIM SPLICHAL

Splichal to Create 100 New Recipes for Windstar’s Signature Cuisine

Seattle, WA (April 14, 2005) – This summer, Windstar Cruises is adding 100 new recipes to its Signature Cuisine, a collection of menu items created by acclaimed celebrity chef Joachim Splichal. Prepared exclusively for Windstar’s three upscale motor sailing yachts – Wind Star, Wind Spirit and Wind Surf – Splichal will create 70 new recipes to be served in The Restaurant aboard all three ships and 30 new recipes specially for The Bistro on the Wind Surf.

Splichal and his expertly trained culinary team will spend time aboard each of the ships this summer, alongside Windstar’s executive chefs, perfecting new menus and recipes. Similarly, Windstar’s culinary team will refresh their training at the Los Angeles-based Patina, Splichal’s signature restaurant.

Since 1994, Windstar Cruises has collaborated with Joachim Splichal and The Patina Group, his progressive collection of award-winning restaurants. Both Windstar and Patina are recognized for their innovative, fresh and uncompromising style in catering to a very discerning clientele. The bistro-style of the Patina Group restaurants is a perfect match for the casually elegant atmosphere found aboard the intimate ships of Windstar, which carry between 148- and 308-guests.

“We look forward to working with Joachim Splichal and The Patina Group as we further develop Windstar’s degrees of difference,” states Jim McHugh, vice president of marketing and sales. “Joachim’s distinctive approach to cuisine will translate into new and exciting dishes onboard our ships, providing our guests with a culinary experience 180 degrees from ordinary.”

Over the course of the 10-year partnership between Windstar and Splichal, more than 380 innovative recipes have been created for The Restaurant. On all three ships, The Restaurant is an inviting environment where guests dine when and with whom they wish in a single, open-seating. Aboard the Wind Surf, Windstar’s Signature Cuisine is also served in The Bistro, an intimate and sophisticated setting modeled after Splichal’s popular bistro-style restaurants.

“It will be a pleasure creating 100 new recipes in collaboration with the Windstar Cruises team,” states chef Joachim Splichal, of famous LA restaurant, Patina. “With an eye toward innovation and imagination, we will create a remarkable dining experience that captures Windstar’s sense of casual elegance.”

A typical onboard dining experience in might feature a menu of Smoked Salmon and Horseradish Potato Salad; Chilled Tomato Soup with Pickled Fennel and Shrimp; Asparagus and Shiitake Salad; and Seared Ahi Tuna with Asian Vegetables and Spicy Ponzu Sauce.

Windstar’s Signature Cuisine is complemented by a selection of “spa cuisine” alternatives. With an eye toward meeting the American Heart Association's guidelines for healthy eating, chef Jeanne Jones created Windstar's Sail Light and Vegetarian menus, which feature healthy choice options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert.

Press Release By Windstar Cruises

Posted by Denise at 05:35 PM

May 15, 2005

Royal Caribbean International's Freedom of the Seas

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Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas Offers Expanded Family Stateroom Options and Activities for All

Miami (May 5, 2005) - Royal Caribbean International is giving families more opportunities to play together and stay together while cruising the Caribbean. The line's newest ship, Freedom of the Seas, will offer six different family-focused stateroom categories specially designed to accommodate larger families and groups of friends.

"The new stateroom categories on Freedom of the Seas give guests the ability to spend downtime together comfortably between onboard activities and shoreside adventures," said Richard D. Fain, Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO. "We're introducing several new configurations, giving guests the freedom to choose from different stateroom sizes and price ranges."

The biggest addition will be the 14-person Presidential Suite, the largest stateroom the line has offered to date, with 1,215 square feet of interior space and an 810-square-foot outdoor living area. The oversized suite will have dual entryways as well as two master bedrooms, sleeping two people each, with 30-inch, flat-panel televisions and en suite bathrooms with bathtubs. Two additional bedrooms will accommodate four people each, with convertible twin/queen beds and two Pullmans. Both of these rooms will feature a 23-inch, flat-panel television, which also will be found in all staterooms shipwide.

The common area will include two additional bathrooms with showers, a spacious living room with a sectional sofa that sleeps two, a card/dining table and an extensive entertainment center, including a 42-inch, plasma TV. Suite guests will be tempted to spend all their time outdoors on the spacious balcony equipped with a whirlpool, wet bar, eight lounge chairs and a 14-person table for dining al fresco.

Freedom of the Seas will offer five additional types of extended family accommodations over and above the standard triples and quads. Each category includes twin beds, convertible to a queen bed, as well as additional bunks to accommodate the whole family. Guests can choose from:

  • Four eight-person Royal Family Suites, each with two bedrooms, including a master bedroom with an en suite bathroom with bathtub, a second bathroom with shower, and a living area with a sectional sofa and an entertainment center with a 30-inch, flat-panel TV. Royal Family Suite balconies include four lounge chairs and an al fresco dining table for eight. Each of the four suites can be expanded to accommodate 10 people via a connecting door to a neighboring stateroom. (600 sq. ft. with a 270 sq. ft. balcony)

  • One six-person Accessible Family Stateroom with balcony, featuring a curtained-off sleeping alcove with bunk beds, sleeper sofa, an accessible bathroom and shower, and accessible closets. (400 sq. ft. with a 120 sq. ft. balcony)

  • Eight six-person Family Oceanview Staterooms, each with a curtained-off sleeping alcove with bunk beds, sleeper sofa and two or more windows. (Up to 495 sq. ft.)

  • Four six-person Promenade Family Staterooms, each with a curtained-off sleeping alcove with bunk beds, sleeper sofa, walk-in closet and bathtub. These suites also have two windows, each with a window seat, overlooking the Royal Promenade. (335 sq. ft.)

  • Two six-person Inside Family Staterooms, each with a curtained-off sleeping alcove, sleeper sofa and walk-in closet. (330 sq. ft.)

Family-Friendly Activities
Families on Freedom of the Seas may find there is too much to do in other areas of the ship to spend much time in their staterooms. Freedom of the Seas will take onboard adventures to new heights with the largest rock-climbing wall at sea. The 43-foot-tall by 44-foot-wide, free-standing wall will feature a central spire that will add a whole new dimension to the experience. Guests will be able to choose from 11 different routes, from easy to expert.

Freedom's younger guests will enjoy Royal Caribbean's award-winning Adventure Ocean Program. From wacky science experiments and Adventure Art by Crayola® crafts projects to sports tournaments and dance parties, guests 3 to 17 will have a full social calendar. Teens, in particular, will have plenty of space to call their own with three, exclusive areas just for them - Fuel nightclub, The Living Room hangout and the Back Deck sundeck. In addition, Freedom of the Seas will feature the line's Aqua Babies and Aqua Tots playtime programs developed by partner Fisher-Price®, Inc. for cruisers ages 6 months to 36 months and their parents.

Freedom also will offer families plenty of ways and places to enjoy time together, including an unparalleled, top-deck aqua environment with an interactive water park; outstanding production shows in the main theater; ice skating spectaculars and free-skate parties on the ice rink; and non-stop action on the Royal Promenade, a 445-foot-long shopping, dining and entertainment boulevard that will feature nightly entertainment and festive parades.

At 158,000 GRT and holding 3,600 guests double-occupancy, Freedom of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship in the world when she debuts in May 2006. The first in Royal Caribbean's new Freedom class, she will be the most forward-looking and innovative ship the company has built to date. Freedom of the Seas will sail seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami calling in Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Royal Caribbean's private destination, Labadee, Hispaniola.

Freedom Is - Where The Ocean Comes To Play!
Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas Takes Ship Design to the Edge and Beyond with Family Water Park, Cantilevered Whirlpools, Dedicated Sports Pool


Miami (May 5, 2005) - Royal Caribbean International's newest ship will give "of the seas" new meaning when it makes its debut in May 2006. Currently under construction at Aker Finnyards in Turku, Finland, Freedom of the Seas will offer guests a top-deck aqua environment unparalleled in the industry, featuring three massive pool areas. Each area will introduce innovative new concepts, including an interactive water park, the most dramatic whirlpools afloat and a dedicated sports pool.

"Freedom of the Seas' combined pool area is 43 percent larger than on our Voyager-class ships, giving us the ability to create three distinctive spaces to appeal to our varied audiences," said Richard D. Fain, Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO. "Guests will have the freedom to splash in the family pool area, relax in the adults-only Solarium or soak in the sun at the main pool area."

A Fantasyland for the Whole Family
One of the most spectacular spaces on Freedom of the Seas will be H2O Zone, the farthest aft of the three areas. H2O Zone will be a colorful wonderland of large, brightly hued sculptures doubling as interactive fountains that spray, sprinkle and spurt water in every direction.

The oversized sculptures will depict family members of all shapes and sizes, including the family dog, and will give guests numerous ways to get soaked - and soak each other - by turning wheels, setting off sensors and dodging dumping buckets. The sculptures will be spread throughout a large, central wading area that also will include a number of spray cannons, water jets and ground gushers.

In one corner of the water playground, a circular pool will shoot a current of water in a river around a central island. Guests can float with the flow as they are misted by one of the fountain sculptures.

Next to the circular pool, a shallow pool, fed by a flamingo-shaped fountain, will create a secluded space for the ship's youngest cruisers. At the back of the park, a rectangular swimming pool will be flanked by wading areas and fed by a waterfall cascading from an overhanging bridge. At night, the water park will turn into a dramatically lit sculpture garden.

An Exciting Way to Unwind
Toward the front of the ship, Freedom of the Seas' adult guests will find the most remarkable relaxation areas at sea in the jungle-themed Solarium. This adults-only oasis will feature two large hot tubs cantilevered out 12 feet from the sides of the ship. Suspended 112 feet above the ocean, the hot tubs will offer breathtaking, panoramic views.

The Solarium also will feature lush tropical foliage, rainforest-inspired mosaics and murals, towering sculpted metal palm trees and hammocks. Two seven-foot-tall parrot sculptures will edge the Solarium's pool, which will hold a few surprises of its own. Guests willing to immerse themselves in the experience will find music piped in underwater and a photo collage behind glass depicting a coral reef.


A New Spot for Sports Buffs
Royal Caribbean is introducing another first for the line in the main pool area. One of the ship's two central pools will be designated as a sports pool. Guests will be invited to challenge themselves, and each other, in a variety of water sports, from pool volleyball and basketball to floating golf and pole jousting, in which competitors sit facing each other on a horizontal pole laid across the pool and attempt to knock each other off with inflatable rods.

Spectators and contestants will be equally entertained when teams try their hand at water ballet choreography in amateur synchronized swimming competitions. Outside the organized activity times, lane markers will be set up in the sports pool for lap swimming.

At night, the main pool area will transform into an open-air nightclub, with a large dance floor situated between the two pools. Guests will be able to enjoy live music, themed parties and a top-class club DJ.

At 158,000 GRT and holding 3,600 guests double-occupancy, Freedom of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship in the world when she debuts in May 2006. The first in Royal Caribbean's new Freedom class, she will be the most forward-looking and innovative ship the company has built to date. Freedom of the Seas will sail seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami calling in Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Royal Caribbean's private destination, Labadee, Hispaniola.

Press Releases by Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International Alaska Cruise Information
Royal Caribbean International Alaska Cruisetour Packages
Royal Caribbean International Mexico Cruise Information

Posted by Denise at 05:08 PM

May 14, 2005

Celebrity Cruises Launches An American Express Credit Card

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CELEBRITY CRUISES LAUNCHES AMERICAN EXPRESS© CARD
New Celebrity Rewards American Express-branded credit card issued by MBNA

Miami - (May 04, 2005 ) - Celebrity Cruises has introduced a new credit card, the Celebrity Rewards American Express Card, issued by MBNA. This card rewards cardmembers with Worldpoints© redeemable for dining, entertainment and enrichment opportunities.

"Whether you're shopping, traveling or enjoying life at home, you can't beat this card for value," said Steve Hancock, Celebrity's Senior Vice President of Marketing. "With the MBNA Worldpoints program, this card gives you more rewards, more privileges and more ways to enhance your life, with no annual fee. And with the access and security extended by the American Express network, our guests get the benefits they deserve when they travel." Cardmembers sailing with Celebrity can redeem WorldPoints for stateroom upgrades, onboard credits, or a free cruise. WorldPoints also can be redeemed for airfare on any major U.S. airline with no blackout periods, hotels, spending money, luggage, electronics, sporting goods and gift certificates for shopping, dining and movies.

Cardmembers also can enroll for savings at more than 21,000 restaurants, take advantage of special offers, or let "MyConcierge" plan their next party or get hard-to-find tickets to concerts and sporting events.

The Celebrity Rewards card also comes with the following benefits:

  • Complimentary enrollment in MBNA WorldPoints©
  • Double points for travel and dining purchases until 2006
  • Double points on all spending with Celebrity Cruises
  • One point per dollar for all other spending

To apply for the Celebrity Rewards American Express Card issued by MBNA, or for more information, call MBNA at 1-866-GET-MBNA and mention priority code CK0F.

About Celebrity Cruises:
Celebrity Cruises is the industry's highest rated premium cruise brand with a taste of luxury. The cruise line has 10 ships in its fleet, which sails in Alaska, Bermuda, California, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, the Mexican Riviera, the Panama Canal and South America. In addition, Celebrity Xpeditions offer exotic travel experiences in the Galapagos Islands and every major region in which Celebrity sails. For more information, call 1-800-738-8837.

Press Release by Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises Alaska Cruise Information
Celebrity Cruises Alaska Cruisetour Packages
Celebrity Cruises Mexican Riviera Cruise Information
Celebrity Cruises European Cruise Information

Posted by Denise at 09:46 AM

May 13, 2005

New 110,000-Ton Carnival Liberty to Feature Multi-Million-Dollar Art Collection

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New 110,000-Ton Carnival Liberty to Feature Multi-Million-Dollar Art Collection

MIAMI (April 26, 2005) – For the new 110,000-ton Carnival Liberty – set to launch Carnival’s first-ever Mediterranean cruise program July 20, 2005 – the line has commissioned a group of talented artists to enhance the vessel’s striking interiors, which celebrate great artisans and their works.

Israeli artist Calman Shemi took the Carnival Liberty’s design theme to heart and created a series of large, colorful murals that feature depictions of iron workers, glass blowers, jewelry makers, and sculptors practicing their crafts. The massive aluminum panels, which measure an impressive six feet high by nine feet wide, are positioned within the ship’s center stairways. Shemi also created 45 different motifs that were reproduced to adorn each of the Carnival Liberty’s 1,479 staterooms.

In her first commission from Carnival, California painter Marian Westall also pays homage to the artisan theme with a series of large canvases for the aft stairways. The brightly colored paintings depict pottery and ornate grillwork set against a variety of dramatic settings, including the desert, sunsets, and a lake.

Virginia Ferrara’s large, tropical-themed pieces, which adorn Carnival Liberty’s stair landings, are inspired by the surroundings of her adopted South Florida home. Measuring up to six feet high by 15 feet wide, the huge, pastel-hued pieces offer a laid-back look at the Sunshine State, with images of palm trees, hammocks and swimming pool scenes that evoke a feeling of total relaxation.

Adjacent to the Carnival Liberty’s swimming pools are four bronze sculptures of Susanna Holt, who has been commissioned to create artwork for six Carnival ships. For Carnival Liberty, Holt created authentic depictions of an anhinga bird drying its wings, sea lions in repose, and a stag and a doe in standing positions.

Rounding out the Carnival Liberty’s multi-million-dollar collection are colorful glass pieces of renowned Italian glass artist Luciano Vistosi, which are illuminated from behind and positioned along Carnival Liberty’s ship-long promenade, and Sara Righi’s sculpture of “Aurora,” a bronze sculpture found along the promenade bar adjacent to the Czar’s Palace Casino.

Carnival Liberty is scheduled to debut July 20, with a series of 12-day Mediterranean voyages that will run through Oct. 12, 2005. Featured ports include Naples, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Venice, Italy; Messina, Sicily; Barcelona, Spain; Cannes, France; and Livorno, Italy.

Carnival Liberty will also operate a 16-day transatlantic voyage departing Rome (Civitavecchia) Oct. 24, and arriving at Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Nov. 9, 2005, calling at Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and Malaga, Spain; Funchal (Madeira), Portugal; and St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles.

Carnival Liberty will then launch the cruise industry’s only year-round six- and eight-day Bahamas/Caribbean schedule from Fort Lauderdale beginning Nov. 12, 2005.

Press Release by Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruises Alaska Cruise Information
Carnival Cruises Mexico Cruise Information

Posted by Denise at 10:40 AM

May 10, 2005

Holland America Line Introduces The Culinary Arts Center, Presented By Food & Wine Magazine

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Holland America Line Introduces The Culinary Arts Center, Presented By Food & Wine Magazine

Top Chefs Offer Special Classes, Demos And More On-Board

Seattle, WA (May 9, 2005) – Holland America Line, in a multi-year partnership with Food & Wine magazine, is launching an exciting new on-board culinary program that will provide guests on select Holland America Line cruises the opportunity to experience demonstrations and seminars conducted by top chefs, wine experts and leading cookbook authors provided by Food & Wine.

These selected sailings, which begin Fall 2005, are part of a broader Culinary Arts Center program which is offered on every sailing and serves as one of the marquee features of Holland America Line’s $225 million Signature of Excellence program. An innovative theater-style venue, each Culinary Arts Center features a state-of-the-art show kitchen, large plasma video screens, and a large cooking display counter, where guests can learn how to prepare a variety of culinary treats. These Culinary Arts Centers are on half of the line’s 13-ship fleet and will be in place across the fleet by mid-2006.

The Culinary Arts Center, presented by Food & Wine magazine, brings the pages of the epicurean magazine alive on dozens of sailings of the world’s leading premium cruise line. “Guests will learn from and mingle with the world’s most renowned culinary authorities in this extraordinary partnership between Holland America Line and Food & Wine magazine,” said Rick Meadows, CTC, Holland America Line’s senior vice president, marketing and sales. “Within our state-of-the-art show kitchens, these acclaimed experts offer our guests an enlightening perspective on the places we visit and the food and cuisine that make them so special.”

"We are excited about the myriad possibilities of this partnership," said Julie McGowan, Food & Wine's senior vice president/publisher. "By pairing Holland America Line's stellar reputation and worldwide itineraries with Food & Wine's expertise and celebration of the epicurean lifestyle, we'll attract the most dynamic, sought-after talents in the world of food and wine."

Guests will learn tricks-of-the-trade from top professionals and can try their hand at preparing dishes and tasting wines representative of the specific ports-of-call. Food & Wine will also design and provide recipe cards and wine tasting notes that guests may take home along with copies of the magazine. Other opportunities might include book signings, question and answer sessions, market tours in ports of call, specially designed on-board menus and more.

Among the chefs who will be sailing as part of the program is Michelle Bernstein, who will sail on Holland America Line’s ms Statendam to Alaska on Sept. 9, 2005. Bernstein just opened her signature MB restaurant at Grand Aqua in Cancun and is also a co-host of The Food Network’s Melting Pot. Oceana’s famed Neal Gallagher, who received the Food & Wine Best New Chef honor in 2003 will delight guests on the ms Westerdam’s Caribbean sailing Nov. 13, 2005. Other chefs participating in the program include Aaron Sanchez and Charles Dale. Aaron Sanchez is a 2005 James Beard Rising Star Chef Award nominee and owner of critically acclaimed restaurants, Paladar, in New York City, and Mixx Restaurant in the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ. Charles Dale, widely regarded as a culinary visionary, is the founder of Aspen’s renowned Renaissance, Range and Rustique restaurants. In addition to these chefs, Food & Wine will provide chefs, wine experts and cookbook authors who appear in the magazine’s pages as well as those featured at the publication’s premier culinary events, specifically the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colo., held in June.

"I am thrilled at the unique opportunity to celebrate cuisines from around the world with guests aboard Holland America Line's well-equipped ships,” said Charles Dale. “The state-of-the-art demonstration kitchens provide the ideal environment for immersing oneself in the culinary traditions of the ships’ destinations, and serve to enhance an already innovative and enriching guest program."

In addition to the robust program with Food & Wine magazine, Holland America Line offers additional chefs and demonstrations as a part of its Culinary Arts Center program aboard every sailing. For 2005, these include a dozen additional culinary demonstrations by regional and specialty chefs from the ports visited on Mexico, Alaska, Europe, and Asia/Pacific cruises. For example, Richard Sandoval, an expert on refined Mexican cuisine and owner and chef of several restaurants, sailed on the Apr. 28, 2005 ms Ryndam cruise to Mexico, and Tamara Murphy, a former Food & Wine Best New Chef and chef and owner of Brasa in Seattle, sailed on the May 9, 2005 ms Rotterdam Mediterranean cruise. Upcoming guest chefs include, Beatrice Ojakangas, an expert on Scandinavian cuisine and a cookbook author, who will sail on the June 6, 2005, ms Prinsendam cruise to the Baltic, and Ying Chang Compestine, an internationally recognized Asian healthy cuisine author, who sails aboard the ms Amsterdam in Asia on October 26, 2005, and on the December 22, 2005, Hawaii holiday sailing.

Food & Wine
Food & Wine is the modern, stylish, talent-seeking, trend-spotting epicurean magazine. Published by American Express Publishing, the leader in luxury lifestyle magazines, Food & Wine has a circulation of nearly 1 million.

About Holland America Line
In 2004, Holland America's fleet of 13, five-star, premium ships will offer nearly 500 sailings from 15 North American home ports, including new departures from Norfolk, VA; Baltimore, MD; and Boston, Mass. Recent additions to the fleet include the 1,848-passenger Vista ships, ms Zuiderdam and ms Oosterdam. In April 2004, the third Vista sister, ms Westerdam joins the fleet. The fleet will visit all seven continents in 2004, while increasing the number of cruises to popular destinations such as Alaska (139 cruises scheduled), the Caribbean (191), Europe (58) and Canada/New England (26).

Holland America excels in service, amenities and special programs. Known for consistent and attentive service, its ships have one of the highest staff-members-to-guest ratios. Spacious staterooms average 25 percent larger and verandahs twice as large as those on other lines' ships. Menus are among the most extensive at-sea. Dining choices include formal elegance, alternative specialty dining in the Pacific Northwest-themed Pinnacle Grill, casual fare and complimentary 24-hour room service.

The winner of the 10th consecutive "Best Overall Cruise Value" award from the World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society (WOCLS), the line offers the only trip cancellation program in the industry that provides cash back for canceling for any reason prior to 24 hours before departure.

World's Leading Cruise Lines
The highest-rated premium cruise line in the world in the 2003 Travel & Leisure magazine "World's Best" Awards, Holland America is a member of the exclusive World's Leading Cruise Lines alliance, which also includes Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Cunard Line, Seabourn Cruise Line, Costa Cruises and Windstar Cruises. Sharing a passion to please each guest and a commitment to quality and value, the member lines appeal to a wide range of lifestyles and budgets. The World's Leading Cruise Lines offer exciting and enriching cruise vacations to the world's most desirable destinations. Conde Nast Traveler magazine readers also ranked Holland America Line as the top premium cruise line in the world in the much-anticipated 2003 Readers' Choice Awards.

Press Release By Holland America Line

Holland America Alaska Cruise Information
Holland America Alaska Cruisetour Information
Holland America Europe Cruise Information
Holland America Mexican Riviera Cruise Information
Holland America Canada/New England Cruise Information

Posted by Denise at 09:40 AM

May 09, 2005

Safari, Snorkel And Shark Dive On Crystal's New 2006 World Cruise Adventures

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Safari, Snorkel And Shark Dive On Crystal's New 2006 World Cruise Adventures

106-day Odyssey Features 23 Overland Excursions, 11 Safaris and Seven Complimentary Shore Events

LOS ANGELES (May 3, 2005) - From high above the Maasai Mara on a flightseeing adventure to the depths of the Tasman Sea on a shark diving expedition, 83 active and enriching new shore tours highlight Crystal Serenity's 106-day "Discovery of the Hemispheres" World Cruise.

Crystal Cruises' 11th annual grand odyssey travels from Los Angeles to London visiting 41 ports in 25 countries from January 18 to May 5, 2006. World travelers can choose from 250 creative Crystal Adventures, including brand new tours such as a walk on the ocean floor in Bora Bora, a four-wheeling safari along New Zealand's Seal Coast, and a hike through the Black River Gorges in Mauritius. The comprehensive program also includes 23 compelling overland excursions and eleven safaris in South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia and Botswana.

"Choice, quality and personalized experiences drive the development of our Crystal Adventures," says John Stoll, Crystal's director, land programs. "Our 2006 program is exceptionally rich in content and variety. Our increasingly active and well-traveled guests want to experience new places in new ways."

Indeed, tour selection in each port is vast. Shore experiences can be tailored to individual interests combining a common theme or hobby. For example:


Snorkeling enthusiasts will explore underwater seascapes from Huatulco, Mexico to French Polynesia to Oman to the Seychelles.

Naturalists will enjoy overland excursions and in-depth adventures to the Galapagos from Guayaquil, Ecuador; the Paracas National Reserve from Pisco, Peru; the Otago Peninsula from Dunedin, New Zealand; and the Bebour Rain Forest from Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean.

Armchair archeologists will thrill to experience overland adventures to fabled Machu Picchu as well as Luxor, the Valley of the Kings and Petra, while fascinating day-trips provide insight into ancient cultures in Easter Island, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sabratha in Libya, and the medieval village of Obidos in Lisbon.

Adventure seekers will relish the two-, three- and five-night safari options to renowned private game reserves including the Mala Mala, Phinda, Masai Mara and Singita - awarded the 2004 world's best game reserve by Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure magazines, among others.

Available in seven segments ranging from 11 to 19 days, each of the shorter World Voyages features a complimentary shore event such as a pilgrimage to the tomb of an Old Testament prophet in Oman and an excursion through New Zealand's breathtaking Taieri Gorge.


“Discovery of the Hemispheres”

2006 World Cruise Destinations & Fares


World Voyage I: Aztec & Inca Treasures; January 18 - February 1, 2006; 14 days; Los Angeles to Lima visiting the Mexican Riviera and South America.


World Voyage II: Mysteries of the South Pacific; February 1 - 15; 14 days; Lima to Papeete visiting the South Pacific, and South America.


World Voyage III: Adventures Down Under; February 15 - March 4; 16 days; Papeete to Melbourne visiting Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific.


World Voyage IV: Passage to Africa; March 4 - 23; 19 days; Melbourne to Cape Town visiting Africa, Australia and New Zealand.


World Voyage V: Indian Ocean Explorer; March 23 - April 9; 17 days; Cape Town to Dubai exploring Africa.


World Voyage VI: Ancient Empires; April 9 - 24; 15 days; Dubai to Rome visiting Africa and the Mediterranean.


World Voyage VII: European Celebration; April 24 - May 5; 11 days; Rome to London visiting the Mediterranean and Europe.


World Value Fares for the full 2006 World Cruise start at $42,790 per person, double occupancy, and include round-trip First or Business Class air transportation (depending on stateroom category) from a Crystal Cruises North American air gateway city, private car airport/ship/home transfers, pre-paid gratuities, $1,000 shipboard spending credit, complimentary Visas for U.S. and Canadian citizens, luxury overnight hotel accommodations and gala bon voyage party in Los Angeles the night before embarkation.

World Value Fares for individual segments begin at $4,660 per person, double occupancy. Crystal also offers specially-priced air fares to those guests booking any of the single World Voyage options.


The Crystal Difference


Aboard the luxurious Crystal Serenity refined elegance meets casual simplicity. With an emphasis on innovative product differentiation, the renowned Crystal experience is distinguished by classic service, abundant space, extensive choices, and quality, providing worldwide vacations that bridge the best of land and sea.

The 1,080-guest, 68,000-ton Crystal Serenity is among the most spacious and luxurious vessels cruising in the luxury market. Its unique size allows for smooth sailing and a wide range of innovative facilities, generous amenities and elegant accommodations. The Six-Star rated liner features grand lounges, a lavish spa outfitted in accordance with the principles of Feng Shui, extensive exercise facilities, complimentary golf, yoga and Pilates instruction, Asian and Italian specialty restaurants, the only Caesars Palace at Sea® casino afloat, and the popular Computer University@Sea®, offering 24-hour e-mail and internet access, as well as hands-on instruction, expansive decks, two pools, award-winning cuisine and entertainment, and exquisitely appointed staterooms, more than half of which offer private verandahs.

Crystal Cruises has consistently earned the travel industry's most distinguished hospitality awards and guidebook ratings, including the best large-ship line award in the most recent readers' surveys conducted by Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure magazines.

Press Release by Crystal Cruises

Crystal Cruises to Alaska
Crystal Cruises to Mexico
Crystal Cruises to Europe

Posted by Denise at 10:07 AM

May 03, 2005

NCL Announces Another Newbuild Order

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NCL ANNOUNCES ANOTHER NEWBUILD ORDER

MIAMI, (May 3, 2005) - NCL today announced a further new ship order with Meyer Werft, in Germany, for delivery in October 2007 to its Norwegian Cruise Line brand. The vessel, currently referred to as hull S.670, will have a capacity of 2,384 lower berths and be a sister to Norwegian Jewel, which is scheduled for delivery in August of this year. Total contract price, including Owner's Supply, is €391 million (approximately $510 million at today's exchange rate).

The new order follows an order announced in December last year with the same yard for an identical ship to be delivered in February 2007, and becomes the fifth ship now in the pipeline for introduction to the NCL fleet during the next 28 months. This new order will be the 10th big new ship to join the NCL fleet since the fleet modernization began in late 1999. Once this 10th ship is delivered in 2007, over 75 percent of NCL's inventory of beds will be on ships less than eight years old.

Commenting on the order, Star Cruises chairman Tan Sri K T Lim said: "This order builds upon the tremendous commercial success of our Norwegian Star and Norwegian Dawn, and continues our strong relationship with the Meyer shipyard. Our investment in the NCL fleet modernization is now close to $4 billion since 2000, which demonstrates the commitment and confidence we have in our strategy."

Colin Veitch, NCL's President and CEO, said: "We are as pleased as can be to announce Number 10. The modernization of NCL's fleet has now gained full momentum and we are well on the way to our goal of having the youngest fleet in the industry. Following the disappointing decision recently to terminate discussions on another ship with another yard, we are very pleased now to have secured our desired second ship for 2007."

The ships now on order for delivery by 2007 are as follows:

  • Pride of America June 2005
  • Norwegian Jewel August 2005
  • Pride of Hawaii April 2006
  • S.669 February 2007
  • S.670 October 2007

They will join the five big new ships built since 1999 and already in service:

NCL is an innovative cruise company headquartered in Miami, Florida, with a fleet of 16 ships in service and under construction. The corporation oversees the operations of Norwegian Cruise Line, NCL America, and Orient Lines. On July 4, 2004, NCL made U.S. maritime history when it introduced the reflagged Pride of Aloha, the first modern U.S.-flagged cruise ship in nearly 50 years. The 2,002 passenger ship is 100% U.S.-crewed, and sails year-round in Hawai`i under the NCL America brand alongside Norwegian Wind from sister brand, Norwegian Cruise Line. The company is currently building five ships, including two more for the NCL America brand in Hawai`i - Pride of America (delivery in June 2005) and Pride of Hawai`i (delivery in April 2006). Norwegian Jewel will join the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet in August 2005 and two further Norwegian Jewel class ships, including one that is the subject of this release, are scheduled for delivery in 2007.

Press Release By Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line Alaska Cruise Information
Norwegian Cruise Line Europe Cruise Information
Norwegian Cruise Line Mexican Riviera Cruise Information
Norwegian Cruise Line Hawaii Cruise Sale
Norwegian Cruise Line Holiday Cruises

Posted by Denise at 02:36 PM

May 02, 2005

Princess Leads in Gulf of Alaska Cruises in 2006

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Princess Leads in Gulf of Alaska Cruises in 2006

New Diamond and Sapphire to Join Coral and Island on Popular Route

Sailings Combine with Extensive Cruisetour Program Featuring Exclusive Direct to the Wilderness Rail Service

SANTA CLARITA, CA (May 2, 2005) - Two of Princess' newest state-of-the-art vessels, Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess, will join Coral Princess and Island Princess for the 2006 Gulf of Alaska cruise and cruisetours season. With the deployment of these ships on the Vancouver/Whittier itinerary, Princess' will again offer more seven-night Gulf of Alaska cruises than any other line.
The four ships will sail on 71 voyages, and each of these cruises can be combined with one of 20 Alaska land tour options for a complete land and sea cruisetour. All Gulf of Alaska cruisetours feature Alaska's most sought-after natural attractions - Glacier Bay National Park, College Fjord and two nights at Denali National Park - and many offer Princess' exclusive Direct to the Wilderness train service, the most convenient way for passengers to travel to Princess' two Denali-area wilderness lodges.

"By dedicating our newest and most amenity-filled ships to our Gulf of Alaska route, we're really reaffir ming our commitment to this fantastic itinerary," said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. "These vessels represent the youngest and most innovative fleet sailing the Gulf of Alaska, and are perfect for enjoying the stunning scenery of Glacier Bay, the 16 glaciers of College Fjord and the incredible Inside Passage. And only Princess offers these two attractions plus at least two nights in the Denali area on ever cruisetour - another example of how we strive to offer our customers the Alaska they want to see."

Voyage of the Glaciers:

Princess' signature "Voyage of the Glaciers" itinerary travels between Vancouver and Whittier with calls offering passengers the opportunity to explore Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, plus cruising through the spectacular scenery of College Fjord, the Inside Passage and Alaska's number one attraction, Glacier Bay National Park. The 2006 season runs between May 13 and September 18, with 2,670-passenger sister ships Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess sailing on 35 cruises with alternating Saturday departures. Returning 1,970-passenger sister ships Coral Princess and Island Princess will set sail 36 times, departing on Mondays for either a northbound or southbound cruise.

Between them, these amenity-laden vessels offer nearly 2,100 standard balcony cabins and 750 mini-suites, perfect for enjoying the stunning scenery throughout the cruise.

Cruisetour Options:

All Gulf of Alaska cruises can be combined with one of 20 land tours in Alaska or two tour options in the Canadian Rockies. Passengers can choose from three- to eight-night land packages to create a comprehensive 10- to 15-night land/sea vacation.

Not only do all Princess Alaska tours offer at least two nights in the Denali National Park area, but passengers can travel directly to their Princess lodge from the ship with Princess' exclusiv e Direct to the Wilderness rail service. This industry first debuted this year and has trains waiting right at the Whittier cruise ship dock to offer passengers the only same day luxury rail service between the ship and Denali Park. Guests have the option of choosing to arrive at either of the two Denali-area Princess wilderness lodges, ensuring that they enjoy more time among the wilderness and wildlife they came to see.

Princess' Alaska cruisetours include accommodation at five of the state's most luxurious properties, with scenic riverside settings in some of the "Great Land's" most desirable wilderness locations. The recently expanded Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge house Denali-area visitors, while the company's Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge and Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge are set, respectively, among the dramatic beauty of the Kenai Peninsula and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. The Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge also offers quality accommodations in the heart of Alaska's interior with views of the Chena River.

Passengers can also choose from two deluxe escorted cruisetours through the Canadian Rockies featuring stays in several of the area's top quality hotels and featuring the services of a professional tour director.

Gulf of Alaska cruises and cruisetours for 2006 are available for reservations on April 29, 2005, with special early-booking fares beginning at $649 for a seven-day voyage, and $1,399 for cruisetours.

Press Release By Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises Alaska Cruise Information
Princess Cruises Alaska Cruisetour Information

Posted by Denise at 11:22 AM

May 01, 2005

Explore Polar Opposites Aboard Ship: Cruise Vessels Take Travelers To The Ends Of The Earth

EXPLORE POLAR OPPOSITES ABOARD SHIP: CRUISE VESSELS TAKE TRAVELERS TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH

New York (April 06, 2005) - Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) ships transport travelers across the seven seas to every continent – including the North and South poles. While not ideal destinations for sunbathing on deck, the Artic region, north of the Arctic Circle, and the Antarctic Peninsula, due south, are perfect for adventurous souls who yearn to see and experience the beauty and spectacle of the world’s most remote and unspoiled destinations.

Most cruise ships cross the Arctic Circle during the summer months, sailing from Scandinavian and Northern European ports to the region’s vast forests, dramatic fjords, and crashing waterfalls, bathed in the eerie light of the Midnight Sun. Just up the coast is the North Cape, Europe’s northernmost point, with breathtaking views towards the Barents Sea and the polar north.

Antarctic cruises are offered from December through March. Sailing from South America’s southernmost ports, these cruises showcase the Antarctic Peninsulas’ awe-inspiring icescapes and abundant wildlife. Depending on the cruise line, passengers can make landings via inflatable expedition boats, purchase optional flight-seeing tours and enjoy scenic cruising.

“One of the many attributes of a cruise vacation is the chance to visit destinations that are inaccessible by any other means of transportation. Itineraries that visit Antarctica and cross the Arctic Circle enable guests to see parts of the world to which few have ever ventured,” said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA – the cruise industry’s chief marketing organization and North America’s largest travel industry association based on agency membership.

The following is a listing of Antarctica and the Arctic itineraries offered by CLIA-member cruise lines in 2005 and 2006:

CUNARD LINE Queen Elizabeth 2 passengers cross the Arctic Circle when she sails from Reykjavic to Akureyri on her 14-night “Northern Lights” cruise to Norway and Iceland, departing July 30, 2005, from Southampton. Meanwhile, her big sister – Queen Mary 2 – will be the largest liner in the world to cruise around South America when she visits on two 12-day “Cape Horn & Chilean Fjords” voyages – departing January 27 and March 22, 2006. Passengers can appreciate Antarctica’s scenic wonders on optional flightseeing excursions.

CRYSTAL CRUISES Crystal Symphony sails from Copenhagen on a 12-day “North Cape & Norwegian Fjords” cruise that crosses the Arctic Circle in late June to call at Honningsvåg, the gateway to the North Cape plateau, Europe’s northernmost promontory. Five 11-day summer Baltic itineraries offer the option of private jet excursions into Finland’s legendary Lapland to tread upon the Arctic Circle. In 2006, Crystal Serenity will mark some of summer’s longest days with a new Arctic cruise that travels as far north as Spitsbergen.

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE In 2005 and 2006, the line’s Rotterdam and Prinsendam offer passengers the opportunity to view Antarctica’s magnificent icescapes via scenic cruising of Elephant, Deception and Anvers (Palmer Station) islands, Hope Bay (Esperanza Station) and Lemaire and Neumayer channels. However, there will be no landings on the Antarctic Peninsula. Meanwhile, both ships also cross the Arctic Circle, Rotterdam on her 12-day cruise June 20, 2005 and Prinsendam on a 21-day voyage May 21, 2006. Voyages feature renowned geologists, naturalists and biologists.

NORWEGIAN COASTAL VOYAGE Norwegian Coast Voyage offers both Arctic and Antarctic voyages. From June through August 2005, passengers cruise under the Midnight Sun exploring Spitsbergen’s Arctic landscapes and abundant wildlife on eight-day cruises aboard MS Nordstjernen or 11 days on MS Polar Star. All the company’s Arctic programs feature naturalist guides and Zodiac landings. From November 2005 through March 2006, MS Nordnorge and MS Nordkapp showcase the magnificent glaciers, icescapes and abundant wildlife of Antarctica on expeditions, with lecturers and PolarCirkel boat landings.

ORIENT LINES Marco Polo crosses the Arctic Circle and winds its way to the North Cape on 17-day “North Cape & Fjords” CruiseTours, departing July 12 and August 14. For the 2005/2006 Austral summer Orient Lines’ flagship will return to Antarctica for her 11th consecutive season with six voyages. Marco Polo uniquely combines the comforts and amenities of a midsize liner with an ice-strengthen hull, an outstanding team of naturalist guides and shore landings on the Antarctic Peninsula via Zodiac expedition boats. PRINCESS CRUISES Sea Princess offers scenic cruising of Magdalena Fjord and Spitsbergen on a 14-day North Cape voyage, departing June 18, 2005. In the Southern Hemisphere, a 21-day itinerary from Rio to Santiago, Chile, aboard Regal Princess, departing Jan. 8, 2006, combines South American cities with seaside resorts, the Falkland Islands and Chilean fjords. However, the highlight of the itinerary is four days of scenic cruising around Antarctic landmarks, including Esperanza Station, Antarctic Sound, Gerlache Strait, and Elephant, Sigma and Deception islands.

RADISSON SEVEN SEAS CRUISES The 490-guest, all-suite Seven Seas Navigator will sail the Arctic Circle in June and July with a series of four “Top of the World” voyages. In January 2006, the Explorer II will offer two 11-night expeditions to Antarctica, roundtrip from Ushuaia. Highlights of the voyages include glacier landings via inflatable Zodiac boats, lead by a distinguished expedition team. The world’s top-rated expedition ship features an ice-strengthened hull and a casually intimate ambiance with its number of guests limited to 198.

SILVERSEA CRUISES In December 2005, passengers aboard Silver Cloud will have the opportunity to experience the majesty of Antarctica on two 16-day voyages between Buenos Aires and Valparaiso, Chile. An optional overland excursion from the port of Punta Arenas, Chile, will transport travelers by air to the Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva Station – a Chilean meteorological center – where they will trek to a lookout for a chance to get up-close and personal with three species of penguins, plus elephant, Weddell and Antarctic fur seals.

Press Release By C.L.I.A.

Alaska Cruise & Cruisetour Information
Europe Cruise Information
Mexican Riviera Cruise Information
South Pacific Cruise Information

Posted by Denise at 09:42 PM