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October 30, 2008

Celebrity Cruises "Takes the Keys" to Celebrity Solstice

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Miami - (October 24, 2008 ) - The most widely heralded cruise ship to enter the market this year, Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Solstice, was delivered today at a ceremony in Emshaven, Netherlands, marking the formal transfer of the ship ? the first in a class of five ? from shipbuilder Meyer Werft to Celebrity Cruises. The ship will begin its transatlantic voyage October 25, with arrival in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., anticipated November 3.

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"With its innovative, half-acre Lawn Club with real, growing grass; the Hot Glass Show offered through our alliance with The Corning Museum of Glass; 10 widely varied restaurants, including four in the specialty category; stylish, spacious staterooms whose design was influenced by a panel of five women with unique travel and hospitality insights; and, of course, the intangible attribute found on every Celebrity ship ? extraordinary service ? Celebrity Solstice is the perfect manifestation of what the Celebrity brand is all about," said Celebrity's President & CEO Dan Hanrahan.

"We are indebted to the countless, highly dedicated individuals who have brought this spectacular ship to this point, and who have shared our passion for innovation, and our dedication to excellence," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Celebrity Cruises' parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Soon after its arrival in Fort Lauderdale on November 3, Celebrity Solstice will serve as the perfect platform for Celebrity Cruises' first Global Sales Meeting, followed by a series of exclusive, two-night preview cruises for invited travel agents, press and other dignitaries. Celebrity Solstice will be named in formal ceremonies on November 14, and will embark on its inaugural season November 23, on a series of seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. In spring 2009, the stunning new ship will introduce a series of romantic 10- and 11-night Mediterranean sailings roundtrip from Rome.

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Celebrity Cruises offers comfortably sophisticated, upscale cruise experiences with highly personalized service, exceptional dining, and extraordinary attention to detail. Celebrity sails in Alaska, Australia/New Zealand, California, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, Panama Canal and South America. The line also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Australia, Canada, Europe and South America. Noted for four of the top 10 "Top Cruise Ships in the World" in the large-ship category, as voted by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler (February 2008 readers? poll), Celebrity's fleet ? including the new Celebrity Solstice ? will be joined by Celebrity Equinox in 2009, Celebrity Eclipse in 2010, a fourth Solstice-class ship in 2011, and a fifth in 2012. For more information, call your travel agent at #1-800-738-8837.

Posted by Denise at 03:38 PM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2008

Wedding Bells to Ring During Naming Festivities for Ruby Princess

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Princess Cruises Celebrates Ultimate Romantic Milestone as Part of Ship Launch
"Love Boat" Captain Gavin MacLeod and "Bachelorette" Couple Trista and Ryan Sutter Serve as Attendants for California Pair

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (October 28, 2008) - What better way for "the most romantic cruise line" to celebrate the launch of its new Ruby Princess than by incorporating an actual wedding in the naming ceremony? In a first, a California couple will be married during the ship's christening festivities on November 6. Ruby Princess godparents, romantic television celebrities Trista and Ryan Sutter, will serve as attendants and former Love Boat captain, Gavin MacLeod, will give away the bride.

The couple, Danielle Vurpillat and Kip Hickman from Dunsmuir, Calif., were invited to share their nuptials with guests onboard after entering the Princess Cruises and USA TODAY "Romance on the Ruby" contest. In their submission they shared that it would be their dream to create their own romantic milestone by getting married onboard the new Ruby Princess - and in true Love Boat fashion, Princess is making their dream come true. In addition to the celebrity attendants, a member of the line's Department of Romance, Phil Roberts, a minister, will perform the ceremony.

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Princess Cruises has long been associated with romance on the high seas, dating back to its days as the setting for the now-iconic TV show. Cementing that connection, Princess was just named the "Best Cruise Line for Romance" and "Best Cruise Line for Weddings" in the 2008 Cruise Critic Editors' Picks Awards. The Ruby Princess naming ceremony continues the line's tradition of romance as Trista and Ryan, who met and married on the television hit The Bachelorette, will christen the ship.

"A ship's naming is an exciting event in itself, so including an actual wedding in the ceremony will certainly make this a one-of-a-kind celebration," said Jan Swartz, Princess senior vice president. "We aim to make this a fantastic romantic milestone for Danielle and Kip as they begin their life together as husband and wife."

The wedding will take place during the ship's naming ceremony on Thursday, November 6 at 5:00 p.m. while Ruby Princess is berthed in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The couple will then enjoy the festivities during the subsequent two-night inaugural preview cruise for VIPs.

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"Since we met and married on national television five years ago, we feel very well suited to be Danielle and Kip's attendants as they wed in front of more than 2,500 people onboard Ruby Princess," said Trista Sutter. "We can coach them on making sure this milestone is special and intimate for them, even though it will be viewed by many thousands of people."

The wedding and entire Ruby Princess naming ceremony will be available for viewing on line at www.princess.com beginning November 7.

The 3,080-passenger Ruby Princess includes a dramatic piazza-style atrium featuring small-bite eateries and an ever-changing line-up of street performers. Passengers will also enjoy Princess' other array of dining venues including the signature Sabatini's Italian restaurant and the Crown Grill steak house, plus a relaxing oasis just for adults called The Sanctuary.

The new ship will also offer the many other innovations that define the Princess experience, including the popular Movies Under the Stars poolside movie screen, Personal Choice Dining featuring traditional or Anytime seating, multiple entertainment venues, a relaxing Asian-style Lotus Spa with fitness center, an extensive children and teen's center, and a wedding chapel.

During Ruby Princess' inaugural season she will make seven-day weekly sailings from Fort Lauderdale to the Western Caribbean. Calls include Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico and Princess Cays in the Bahamas. Next spring the ship will move to Europe for 12-day sailings in the Mediterranean and Greek Islands.

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Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent by calling #1-800-738-8837.

Posted by Denise at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2008

Holland America Line Launches Explorations Team

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Seattle, WA, October 2, 2008 - With today's traveler looking for more enriching experiences and activities, Holland America Line has broadened its onboard programming with the new Explorations Team. As part of the premium line's ongoing Signature of Excellence initiative, the Explorations Team will be comprised of event staff with specific, niche expertise ranging from technology to travel who will offer guests a menu of "edutainment" programs.

The Holland America Line Explorations Team will be a cohesive team dedicated to enhancing the overall cruise experience and includes an onboard party planner, a travel guide, a "techspert" and dance directors. On cruises lasting 12-days or more, a book club leader will also join the team.

"People learn through experience and our guests are looking for programs, events and activities they can personally connect with," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "Our goal is not only to entertain guests but to offer them the opportunity to learn a new skill or discover something about a new port or country; the choice is theirs, and the Explorations Team is in place to facilitate that choice."

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The onboard party planner will schedule, implement and host events in the Culinary Arts Center, significantly expanding the innovative program which already brings more than 70 culinary experts on board each year for cooking demonstrations and seminars. The line has invested more than $14 million in the professional show kitchens found on each ship and will use the space for more activities such as wine tasting, craft classes, floral arranging, and table and lifestyle presentations such as creating the line's beloved towel animals.

The travel guide will host lectures and be a one-stop source for information on the various ports of call. A destination expert, the travel guide will be available throughout the cruise to interact with guests on a one-on-one basis, answer questions, and give presentations on the destination's history, culture and geography. On Grand Voyages and on ms Prinsendam, rotating guest speakers fill the role of travel guide.

The "techspert" will be on hand to teach guests how to take advantage of technology, whether helping guests make the most of their vacation photos, arranging a digital scrapbook, blogging, creating a slideshow or editing a movie. Classes and personal workshops will be available throughout the cruise. Novices can learn about web 2.0 and how to work with digital photos. Those with more experience will enjoy the opportunity to learn new shortcuts and techniques.

Dance directors show guests how to dance the night away. Classes are available throughout each cruise. Whether teaching line dancing in the Crow's Nest or ballroom dancing in the Ocean Bar, the dance instructors will ensure guests of all experience levels enjoy themselves while learning new steps. After class, guests will find dance events on the ship's activity schedule where they may show off their new moves.

On cruises lasting 12 or more days, a book club leader will host lively book discussions in the Explorations Café powered by the New York Times. Book titles will be posted online before the cruise so guests interested in joining the discussion will have time to read the chosen book. The book club leader will plan and facilitate two to three discussions for each book. Books chosen will relate to the sailing destination whether by author or topic. For example, on an Australian itinerary the book may be "In a Sunburned Country" by Bill Bryson or in Asia, 'Saving Fish from Drowning: A Novel by Amy Tan."

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With the addition of this new team of experts, Holland America Line guests now will have even more memories to take home from their cruise plus the personal experiences that have enriched their lives to share with family and friends. The Holland America Line Explorations Team will be implemented fleet-wide.

This $200-million phase in the Signature of Excellence commitment brings the latest innovations at sea to Holland America Line's ms Statendam, ms Maasdam, ms Ryndam, ms Veendam and ms Rotterdam. The first of the extensive dry-dock periods begins with the Veendam in spring 2009 and the last will be completed on the Maasdam in late 2010. While in dry-dock, ships will expand the aft deck to create a new resort pool concept, The Retreat, and create a new bar concept called Mix that features separate areas - Martinis, Champagne and Spirits & Ales. Enhancements will be made to all existing staterooms and additional staterooms will be added to the ships. The ships will also introduce 46 innovative lanai staterooms with direct access to the Lower Promenade Deck. New spa staterooms near the Greenhouse Spa and Salon will offer special in-room spa amenities. Overall Holland America Line has committed $525 million to its Signature of Excellence program that redefines premium cruising.

For a cruise brochure or for more information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit www.hollandamerica.com.


- www.hollandamerica.com -

Editor's note: Images available at http://www.cleanpix.com/cleanpix/portal/W10zg:MGy:2qk.

About Holland America Line [a division of Carnival Corporation and plc (NYSE: CCL and CUK)]
Holland America Line's fleet of 14 ships offers nearly 500 cruises to 314 ports in more than 100 countries, territories or dependencies. Two- to 108-day itineraries visit all seven continents, and highlights include Antarctica, South America, Australia/New Zealand and Asia voyages; a Grand World Voyage; and popular sailings to ports in the Caribbean, Alaska, Mexico, Canada/New England, Europe and Panama Canal. A 15th ship, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, is scheduled to join the fleet in 2010.

Fleetwide, the company features Signature of Excellence enhancements, a commitment totaling more than $525 million, that showcase the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine - a state-of-the-art onboard show kitchen where more than 60 celebrated guest chefs and culinary experts provide cooking demonstrations and classes - Explorations Café powered by The New York Times, teens-only activity areas and all new stateroom amenities highlighted by flat-panel TVs and plush Euro-top Mariner's Dream Beds.

World's Leading Cruise Lines
The highest-rated premium cruise line in the world, Holland America Line 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 and Costa Cruises. Sharing a passion to please each guest and a commitment to quality and value, these 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.

Posted by Denise at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2008

Princess to Debut Array of New Features and Special Touches Aboard Ruby Princess

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Pub Lunch, Sabatini's Suite Breakfast, and Unique Enrichment Programs Among New Offerings Introduced

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (October 20, 2008) -- When Ruby Princess launches on November 8, the ship will introduce a host of new shipboard services and special features, underscoring Princess' tradition of continually evolving the onboard experience for its passengers. Among the new options is a pub lunch, an exclusive breakfast for suite passengers, unique enrichment programs from astronomy to mixology, two new stage shows, plus expanded wireless Internet and cell phone connectivity.

The 3,070-passenger vessel will feature the familiar favorites that have become passenger pleasers aboard its sister ships Crown Princess and Emerald Princess but, in addition, other special touches and innovations will be found throughout the service, dining and entertainment areas.

"The new features aboard Ruby Princess are a perfect example of our commitment to provide passengers with the widest array of intriguing options to customize their cruise vacation," said Jan Swartz, Princess senior vice president.

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Many of the ship's enhancements are slated to become staples across the Princess fleet following their debut on Princess' newest ship. Among the new features being introduced on Ruby Princess:

Wheelhouse Bar Pub Lunch -- On sea days, Ruby Princess' Wheelhouse Bar will be transformed into an authentic English-style pub, serving a selection of traditional fare. A menu of British favorites, including bangers & mash, fish & chips, ploughman's lunch and cottage pie, will complement a selection of traditional pub brews such as Stella Artois, Bass Ale or Guinness. Pub lunch meal service is free of charge and will run from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Sabatini's Breakfast for Suite Passengers -- Suite passengers aboard Ruby Princess will have the opportunity to enjoy an exclusive breakfast in Sabatini's. Beginning with a "Good Morning Mimosa," the menu features a variety of breakfast favorites, plus specialty items such as brioche French toast with apple & cinnamon compote, yogurt and super granola parfait with raspberry swirl, soft-poached egg over potato & vegetables with hollandaise sauce, and freshly made Belgian waffles. Suite passengers can enjoy this new amenity, along with the restaurant's dramatic top-of-ship views, from approximately 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.

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Artisan Cheeses at Vines -- In addition to serving more than 30 wines by the glass and seafood appetizers that have made Vines a passenger favorite, the atrium-area bar on Ruby Princess will now feature a selection of domestic and imported artisan cheeses. Twelve varieties -- including unique choices such as boschetto al tartufo bianchetto, reblochon, and cambozola -- will be featured each day for a nominal fee. Vines will also host a series of lively events where passengers can meet members of the ship's staff, and will continue to offer wine flights and parings.

New Enrichment Programs -- A number of new ScholarShip@Sea enrichment programs debut aboard Ruby Princess to expand passengers' horizons, whether they aspire to host the perfect party or increase their maritime knowledge. The Art of Entertaining offers passengers the opportunity to learn party-planning tips from lifestyle expert Susie Coelho via a multimedia presentation hosted by the cruise director. Navigation@Sea focuses on the history of navigation as well as the complexities of plotting the route of a modern cruise ship, with a presentation by the ship's navigator. Mixology@Sea lets passengers channel their inner bartender with a hands-on course taught by the ship's bar manager. For star gazers, the new Astronomy@Sea program provides passengers with the opportunity to explore the night sky through a telescope on the top deck, with the expert guidance of a ship's bridge officer. Developed in conjunction with Dr. Thomai Serdari, Professor of Art History and Director of Research Collections for New York University, Art History@Sea: Botticelli to Warhol, The Evolution of Art makes 500 years of art come to life with a special hour-long presentation.

Two New Production Shows -- Ruby Princess audiences will be able to enjoy two new Princess-produced shows in the ship's theater. "Broadway Ballroom" presents the music of the ‘Great White Way' with a ballroom flair, pairing the songs of hit musicals with dance numbers ranging from foxtrot to rumba. The show also features the talents of a costume designer and choreographer from the TV hit "Dancing with the Stars." Meanwhile, "Once Upon a Dream" uses unique multidimensional cinematic projection to follow a dreamscape unlike anything seen at sea. The audience will accompany a young woman's journey as she dreams of everything from a tea party in an English garden to singing camels in the desert, and even a trip through a waterfall and brief nightmare before waking to a new day.

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The Audience Gets in the Act -- A variety of new audience-participation events will also debut on the ship, giving passengers a number of ways to seek their 15 minutes of fame. Karaoke fans can go a bit farther with Love Boat Legends, where they are actually transformed into a famous artist of the past. So You Wanna Be A Rock Star? moves beyond pre-recorded Karaoke tunes to give audience members the opportunity to rock out with a live band on stage. Oceans of Talent puts passenger talent center stage -- whether they play a musical instrument or want to try out their comedic timing. The Wake Up Show takes Princess' popular morning show with the cruise director to a new level with an irreverent talk show format, live band, special guests and an opportunity for passengers to join the "studio" audience, as the show is taped in the evening before its broadcast the next morning.

A Few Fine Touches -- A number of new service touches will be introduced to delight passengers. In the Horizon Court buffet, new waffle stations will offer fresh cooked-to-order waffles at breakfast and throughout lunchtime, and the buffet will also begin serving complimentary lemonade as a beverage choice. In the evening, passengers will find a selection of canapés in several of the ship's public lounges. Passengers arriving back from shore will be greeted with chilled face cloths, and by the pool, "misting stewards" will offer a quick refreshing spritz with Evian to cool off.

Kid Stuff -- Young passengers can enjoy a new Wizards Academy, an exclusive presentation from the award-winning California Science Center. This enriching new program lets children explore the connection between science and magic in a fun and participative environment. Kids will also enjoy activities and projects from popular arts and crafts company Klutz, or participate in Yoga for Kids, a healthy and fun course designed specifically for children.

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Wireless Internet and Cell Phones -- Expanding on Princess' Internet and phone connectivity, Ruby Princess will offer laptop users additional wireless hotspots around the vessel, including staterooms. The ship will also be equipped so that passengers can use their personal cellular phones, if they have international roaming plans, while onboard.

Ultimate Ship Tour -- A new exclusive opportunity to experience an array of "back of house" areas that are key to a ship's daily operations, the Ultimate Ship Tour will give passengers the unique opportunity to explore beyond the public areas with visits to the ship's engine control room, medical center, print shop, laundry, photo lab, funnel, bridge and other spaces. In addition to getting a rare insider's view of many areas typically seen only by the ship's crew, participants will receive a variety of themed mementos at many of the stops along the route.

Ruby Princess also includes a dramatic piazza-style atrium featuring small-bite eateries and an ever-changing array of performing street entertainers, Princess' signature adults-only oasis called The Sanctuary, Sabatini's Italian restaurant, Crown Grill seafood and steak house, "Movies Under the Stars" giant outdoor movie screen, and Hearts and Minds wedding chapel. The ship will feature an inaugural season of Western Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, followed by a program of Mediterranean voyages in summer 2009.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent by calling 1-800-738-8837.

Posted by Denise at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2008

NCL Featured On ABC'S New Family Game Show - "Opportunity Knocks"

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Tonight, a California family could win a 7-day cruise on Norwegian Star

Miami, FL - Sep 30, 2008 - Norwegian Cruise Line ("NCL") helps make family dreams come true tonight on ABC's new primetime game show, "Opportunity Knocks," which airs at 8 pm EST (7 pm CT). One California family of five will have the opportunity to win a seven-day cruise to the Mexican Riviera aboard one of NCL's Freestyle Cruising ships, Norwegian Star, as part of the game shows "dream-of-a-lifetime" prize package.

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In "Opportunity Knocks," host and executive producer JD Roth knocks on a family's front door in "Anywhere, America," giving them the opportunity to have a family game night where they can win hundreds of thousands of dollars and amazing prizes that could change their lives. Each week, the mobile "Opportunity Knocks" team literally sets up shop on a family's front lawn, where an audience made up of neighbors and friends cheers them on.

In tonight's episode, the Laut family from Lakewood, California that includes parents Don and Rebecca, along with their three children: Aaron, 12; Cody, 10; and Megan, 8; are asked trivia questions based directly on their lives, each other and articles in and around their home. Highlights include mother Rebecca identifying which umpires she is known to heckle at Aaron's Pony League games; Megan is asked if she can remember her brother's slogan from his run for student body president; and Aaron tries to remember the score of a big televised football game that caused his father, Don, to run out into the street whooping and hollering - while wearing his pajamas. For that answer, legendary ABC sportscaster Keith Jackson provides some humorous play-by-play. If they prove they know their family inside and out - in front of all their friends and neighbors - they could win thousands of dollars and amazing prizes, including the NCL cruise to the Mexican Riviera. One of Rebecca Laut's dreams is to take her family on a cruise, and she will have the opportunity to win the cruise tonight.


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NCL will be featured on future episodes of the nationally-aired family game show.

Executive producers for "Opportunity Knocks" are Ashton Kutcher, Jason Goldberg, Karey Burke, JD Roth and Todd A. Nelson.

NCL Corporation Ltd. is the holding company for various subsidiary companies involved in owning and operating the ships of Norwegian Cruise Line.

NCL is building a new third generation Freestyle Cruising project known as F3, for delivery in 2010. NCL today has the youngest fleet in the industry, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy the flexibility of Freestyle Cruising on the newest, most contemporary ships at sea, and has recently added its latest new ship, the 2,400 passenger Norwegian Gem.

For further information on NCL call #1-800-738-8837.

Posted by Denise at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2008

A Novel Idea: Book Club To Debut On Crystal's 2009 World Cruise

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LOS ANGELES, September 29, 2008 - With its 2009 World Cruise, Crystal Cruises is introducing The Interactive Literary Review, a book club moderated by the dynamic, best-selling author and literary critic Robert Adams. On each of the seven segments Adams and guests will delve into three internationally acclaimed novels. Adams, author of the best-selling book, A Love of Reading, lectures exclusively for Crystal and is applauded for his theatrical "performance reviews" of books.

The program is launching through the ultra-luxury line's Creative Learning Institute, which generously expands its programming on each segment of the 106-day "Pacific Circle Celebration" World Cruise, departing Los Angeles on January 21.

"Crystal's new Literary Review was designed to stimulate discussion, entertain, foster camaraderie and provide an intellectual forum for common interests," said Bret Bullock, vice president, entertainment. "Robert has selected a diverse collection of the world's most compelling, topically relevant books. Set in international locations from Papua New Guinea to Afghanistan, the multi-layered characters and story lines invite discussion."

The 21 novels, penned by authors from more than 10 countries, include such acclaimed titles as A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khalid Hosseini; Cat's Eye, by Margaret Atwood; Palace Walk, by Naguib Mahfouz and Birdsong, by Sebastian Faulks. All titles for each cruise segment are listed at crystalcruises.com. On board, they are available for purchase in the Captain's Choice retail shop, and several of the works, along with more than 1,500 others, are available in Crystal Serenity's library.

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Crystal Srenity's World Cruise spans the globe, visiting 45 ports of call in 22 countries throughout the South Pacific, Asia, Africa and Europe. Eight distinctive segments range from 11 to 17 days.


Crystal's Creative Learning Institute


Crystal's Creative Learning Institute provides comprehensive instruction and enrichment opportunities. In addition to the Interactive Literary Review, expert instruction is offered through a wide range of Crystal partners, including Yamaha, Berlitz, Tai Chi Cultural Center, The Cleveland Clinic and The Society of Wine Educators.


The Crystal Difference


Aboard the ultra-luxurious Crystal Symphony and 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 superior quality, providing worldwide vacations of seven to 100+ days that bridge the best of land and sea. Grounded in more than a decade of accolades, Crystal has been voted "World's Best" by the readers of Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler more than any other cruise line, hotel or resort in history.

For additional information and Crystal reservations, please call #1-800-738-8837.

Posted by Denise at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2008

Princess Cruises Launches New Season of Hawaiian Islands Sailings with New Ways to Experience the Soul of Hawai'i

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Local Experts, Artisans, Cuisine and Shore Excursions Highlight Aloha Spirit

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (October 3, 2008) -- As Golden Princess begins a new season of sailings to the Hawaiian Islands, Princess Cruises passengers will find themselves immersed in all things Hawai'i, with the culture, traditions, arts and tastes of the island paradise highlighted throughout their cruise.

Whether they're attending demonstrations by local artisans, learning to play the ukulele, exploring historic attractions, or savoring regional cuisine in the dining room, the ship's Hawai'i travelers will enjoy the aloha spirit each day.

"Our goal is to captivate our passengers with onboard experiences that capture the heart and soul of Hawai'i," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president. "We want to make sure that our guests go home with a deeper understanding of the islands and the people who live there."

This year, Princess' Hawaiian programs are engaging passengers with a variety of cultural presentations and demonstrations, interpretive lectures, folkloric performances, hands-on activities, Hawaiian cuisine, and a number of new Adventures Ashore excursion options throughout the islands. Among these Hawaiian experiences are:

In-Port Guest Artists -- A variety of local artisans and performers will come aboard during select island port calls. Passengers will observe the unique expertise needed to create these truly Hawaiian arts, and may learn some craft skills themselves.

Kaua'i: Ni'ihau Shell Artists -- The "forbidden" island of Ni'ihau is privately owned and largely closed to the rest of the world. Although outsiders generally cannot visit there, Princess passengers have the unique opportunity to share in the island's traditional culture when some of Ni'ihau's skilled artisans come onboard for a special shell lei making demonstration. Following an ancient art form, the native Hawaiian lei makers use tiny and delicate shells found only on the northern coast of Ni'ihau, creating pieces that are highly prized as fine jewelry. In a presentation exclusive to Princess, passengers are invited to meet the artists and watch as they demonstrate the intricate process and share history of the craft. Although these heirloom-quality pieces are not widely available in stores, those who wish to own one of these stunning lei will also have the opportunity to purchase them from the craftswomen while they are onboard in Kaua'i.

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Hilo: Selected Artisans -- In another presentation unique to Princess, native bone carver Dean Kaahanui comes aboard during some Big Island calls to present a workshop on the history of his craft and demonstrate the art of bone carving. During the workshop, he'll also explain the inspiration for his work, which is often based on Hawaiian legends. After the demonstration, passengers also have an opportunity to purchase some of Kaahanui's fine carvings. In Hilo, passengers may also have the opportunity to meet feather lei makers who will teach the ancient art of hulu lei.

Honolulu: Hula Show -- Keiki (children) from the award-winning Halau Hula Olana, one of the islands' most respected hula schools, perform onboard during Honolulu calls. These charming young dancers present an entertaining show that highlights the children's commitment to learning their halau's (school's) unique hula tradition that has been passed down from generations of kumu (teachers), Hawaiian language and the stories of Hawai'i.

Naturalists and Lecturers -- Passengers can also add to their knowledge and appreciation of the islands through a series of special presentations from guest lecturers and naturalists -- many from prestigious organizations such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Park Service. These experts will provide insight on the wonders of the islands, including marine biology, whale migration, volcanoes, the islands' unusual endemic species, Hawaiian culture and history, and local myths and legends.

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Regional Hawaiian Cuisine -- Hawai'i's bountiful fare -- including fresh fruits such as pineapples and mangos, unique fish and seafood, luau staples such as roast pig, and treats like coconut and macadamia nuts -- star in Princess' special Hawaiian regional cuisine selections. Princess chefs use the state's abundance of unique flavors to serve up such dishes as Macadamia and Panko Crusted Mahimahi, Lehua Honey BBQ Pork Spareribs, and Luau Pork with Apricot Drippings. A festive Hawaiian Island Night celebration will also feature a full buffet feast loaded with a rich variety of local taste treats, including pupus, a fresh fruit carving station and tropical-themed desserts.

New Adventures Ashore -- Several new shore excursion options debut this season, adding some enticing island activities to Princess' line-up of nearly 100 Hawai'i tour choices. For those who want to indulge in island flavors, A Gourmet Tour of Volcanoes National Park (Hilo) offers the opportunity to not only enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, but also visit a local coffee mill, winery and artisanal candy company -- the latter for tastings of fresh macadamia cookies. In Honolulu, passengers can enjoy the romantic Ali'i Dinner Cruise, a sunset sailing on the world's largest Polynesian catamaran. In addition, Honolulu visitors can choose a new way to see Pearl Harbor with the Mighty Mo and Pacific Aviation Museum tour -- featuring the battleship USS Missouri, where Japan surrendered to end World War II. On Maui, passengers can enjoy one of the state's best snorkeling sites with the Molokini Crater Snorkel Adventure & SNUBA tour.

On Kaua'i, the new Grove Farm and Kauai Plantation Railway tour lets passengers discover the history of the Garden Isle with visits to Grove Farm, a beautifully preserved homestead and sugar plantation, plus ride the narrow gauge railway at Kilohana Plantation through fields of sugar cane, bananas, pineapples, papaya and coffee. Also on Kaua'i, passengers can explore an area usually inaccessible to the public with the Historic Haraguchi Rice Mill and Hanalei Taro Fields tour -- featuring Hawaii's only remaining rice mill and surrounding taro fields. Kaua'i visitors can also enjoy visits to the historic Kilauea Lighthouse and Limahuli Botanical Garden, a lush 17-acre garden complex set in a scenic 900-acre botanical preserve. Finally, passengers can opt for the Ultimate Island Adventure by Private Vehicle, where they can choose to explore Kaua'i's north or south shore in the comfort of their own VIP luxury vehicle.

Passenger Activities -- For passengers who want to immerse themselves further in Hawaiian culture, onboard instructors teach a number of classes throughout the cruise, including the opportunity to learn such local skills as orchid lei making, hula dancing (both traditional and contemporary), sarong tying, Hawaiian language and ukulele playing. Ukulele aficionados can even show off their new skills at the end of the cruise with a passenger talent show.

The Islands on Film and TV -- The ship's movie and television programs will also put passengers in the island mood with Hawaiian topics and stories. Princess partnered with the National Park Service to produce an exclusive video presentation on Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park that gives passengers a comprehensive preview of this spectacular attraction. Hawaiian-themed films have been added to the ships' selection of recent Hollywood movies, with classics such as "From Here to Eternity" and documentaries such as "Riding Giants," profiling the world's top surfers. In addition, a selection of travel videos and documentaries give passengers a feel for the islands. Among them are a series of National Geographic presentations covering the islands' unique species, Pearl Harbor and Hawaiian culture, as well as a variety of specials on local-interest topics.

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For the 2008-09 season, Golden Princess sails to the Hawaiian Islands on 14 departures. The ship offers 14-day round-trip Hawai'i cruises from Los Angeles that include calls at Hilo, Honolulu, Kaua'i (Nawiliwili), Maui and Ensenada. The ship sails between October 1, 2008 and April 1, 2009.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent by calling #1-800-738-8837.

Posted by Denise at 11:23 AM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2008

Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Solstice Sets Sail for First Time Historic event attracts tens of thousands of area residents

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Miami - (September 29, 2008 ) - The most widely heralded ship to enter the cruise market this year, Celebrity Solstice, departed Meyer Werft shipyard yesterday in Papenburg, Germany, as the largest ship ever built by the longtime shipbuilder. In a milestone event known as "The Conveyance," the 2,850-guest Celebrity Solstice made its way down the River Eems, as tens of thousands of area residents lining the river banks cheered and photographed the historic event.

"This is a very momentous occasion for Celebrity Cruises," said the brand's President and CEO Dan Hanrahan. "Celebrity Solstice is the perfect manifestation of what the Celebrity brand is all about: extraordinary service, spectacular dining, and fabulous style and design. And as the first in a series of five Solstice-class ships, it?s a vivid example of the growth and momentum of the Celebrity brand, and our commitment to meet our guests' and travel agent partners? demands for more vacation options with Celebrity."

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Among the wealth of attributes guests will find only on Celebrity Solstice are: ? The industry?s first Lawn Club, a lush, half-acre recreation area with real, growing grass.
? The industry?s first Hot Glass Show, with live glassblowing demonstrations presented in association with The Corning Museum of Glass.
? Larger staterooms, with design inspirations offered by a panel of five women, hand-picked for their unique travel and hospitality insights.
? 10 varied restaurants, ranging from the dramatic, two-level ?Grand Epernay? main dining room with a sweeping wine tower, to four exquisite specialty restaurants, to several stylish, casual venues.
? An entirely new category of accommodations, ?AquaClass,? designed to offer a spa vacation experience at sea rivaling the best of those on land.
? A state-of-the-art theater and stage design, with three new leading-edge shows custom-designed for Celebrity with Poet Theatricals, in their first cruise line partnership.


"There also is the intangible attribute which is consistent across the Celebrity fleet, and that's the extraordinary, anticipatory service our phenomenal staff offer our guests every day," said Hanrahan.

Celebrity Solstice will be berthed in Eemshaven, Netherlands, from September 29 to October 24, with two separate sea trials planned during that period, in addition to crew arrivals, training, provisioning and finishing work onboard. The ship will depart Eemshaven October 24 on a transatlantic voyage, with arrival in Fort Lauderdale planned for early November, followed by a series of promotional cruises for invited travel agents, press and other dignitaries. The ship will be named in formal ceremonies on November 14, and will begin its maiden season November 23, with a series of alternating 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, calling on San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, and Tortola during this Fall and Winter. Celebrity Solstice presents a series of romantic 10- and 11-night Mediterranean cruises from Rome beginning in Spring 2009.

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Celebrity Cruises offers comfortably sophisticated, upscale cruise experiences with highly personalized service, exceptional dining, and extraordinary attention to detail. Celebrity sails in Alaska, Australia/New Zealand, California, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, Panama Canal and South America. The line also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Australia, Canada, Europe and South America. Noted for four of the top ten "Top Cruise Ships in the World" in the large-ship category, as voted by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler (February 2008 readers' poll), Celebrity's current fleet will be joined by Celebrity Solstice in 2008, Celebrity Equinox in 2009, Celebrity Eclipse in 2010, a fourth Solstice-class ship in 2011, and a fifth in 2012. For more information call #1-800-738-8837.

Posted by Denise at 04:56 PM | Comments (0)