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May 29, 2010

Celebrity Mercury to Become Second Ship in TUI Cruises Fleet

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Miami - (May 27, 2010 ) - Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Mercury will become the second ship in the fleet of TUI Cruises, a cruise brand established in 2008 through a joint venture between Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and TUI AG, tailored for the German market. The new ship, to be named Mein Schiff 2, will become sister ship to Mein Schiff (the former Celebrity Galaxy), which set sail in May 2009.

"Celebrity Mercury has been a cherished member of the Celebrity family since she entered service in 1997, and has offered countless guests outstanding vacation experiences," said Celebrity Cruises President & CEO Dan Hanrahan. "We are dedicated to offering the same impeccable service our brand is known for right up until the ship transitions to TUI Cruises, and we are confident that the ship's future with TUI Cruises is very bright."

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Hanrahan assured that the future for the crew on Celebrity Mercury is equally bright. "With the rapid growth and momentum of the Celebrity brand, and the fourth member of our five-ship Solstice Class fleet, Celebrity Silhouette, launching in July 2011, we have abundant opportunities for the fine crew on Celebrity Mercury to transfer to another Celebrity ship."

Celebrity Mercury joined the Celebrity Cruises fleet in November 1997, and was built by Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany - builder of Celebrity's widely heralded, new Solstice Class fleet. The 77,713-ton ship carries 1,898 guests (double occupancy) and 909 crew.

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"The timing for expanding the TUI Cruises fleet could not be better," said TUI Cruises CEO Richard J. Vogel. "Mein Schiff has firmly established its place in the German market, and now, it is time to broaden and further develop the concept. The cruise industry has shown its resilience in the midst of the economic crisis, and we look forward to growing it further, with our expanded fleet and our unique 'premium all-inclusive' concept."

Celebrity Mercury will complete its scheduled sailings through the February 14, 2011, itinerary. Guests with individual bookings and named group bookings on Celebrity Mercury on or after February 26, 2011 have the option to either cancel their booking or move to any Celebrity Mercury sailing from Baltimore from October 18, 2010, through February 14, 2011, with the exception of the December 20, 2010 itinerary.

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Guests who pursue this option will receive an onboard credit of $75 per stateroom for inside or ocean-view accommodations; $100 per stateroom for veranda or Concierge Class, and $200 per suite.

Guests with reservations affected by the transition will be proactively contacted by Celebrity Cruises. Guests with questions specific to impacted bookings are welcome to call their travel agent.

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Celebrity Mercury will enter service with TUI Cruises in May 2011, as Mein Schiff 2, following an extensive refurbishment resulting in additional verandas, an expanded spa and fitness area, inclusion of a teen bar, and a host of design elements and other attributes consistent with those found on Mein Schiff.

Mein Schiff 2 will spend her first cruising season in the Baltic and Nordic regions. Full itinerary details will be published when bookings open June 1, 2010.

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Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. has agreed to provide seller's financing in the event that alternative financing is not fully available at the time of delivery. Additionally, the company will recognize a gain related to the sale of the Celebrity Mercury, but the gain is not expected to have a material effect on the company's annual earnings.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that operates Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Club Cruises, CDF Croisieres de France, and TUI Cruises through a 50 percent joint venture. The company has a combined total of 39 ships in service and three under construction. It also offers unique land-tour vacations in Alaska, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, Latin America and New Zealand. Additional information can be found on Royal Caribbean website, Celebrity Cruises website, Pullmantur website, Azamara Club Cruises website, CDF Croisieres de france website, TUI Cruises website or Investor Relations website.

Specials on the Celebrity Mercury:

9 Day Bahamas Cruise December 11, 2010 From $549 US!

11 Day Eastern Caribbean Cruise October 18, 2010 From $699 US!

7 Day Alaska Cruise July 4, 2010 From $749 US!

12 Day Caribbean Cruise November 8, 2010 From $799 US!

For more information about Celebrity Cruises or one of these deals on the Celebrity Mercury call Cruising2Paradise.com at #1-800-738-8837.

Posted by Denise at 03:07 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2010

Princess Cruises Adds a Kiwi Flavor to New Zealand Voyages

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Local Tastes, Entertainers and Cultural Programs Highlight Upcoming
Sun Princess and Dawn Princess Sailings

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (May 10, 2010) ? " target="_blank">Princess Cruises will introduce a distinct Kiwi flavor on its upcoming season of cruises to New Zealand, with passengers experiencing a taste of the local cuisine, entertainment and culture as they explore the North and South islands.

Passengers on Sun Princess and Dawn Princess? New Zealand cruises will be able to feel the spirit of Aotearoa the ?Land of the Long White Cloud? throughout their voyage, enjoying features such as Maori dance performances, local cuisine and seminars on the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Fiordland National Park.

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The new programs and menus will be featured on 18 New Zealand sailings, beginning on Sun Princess October 13 and starting on Dawn Princess December 8.

?Our goal is for passengers to feel the essence of New Zealand throughout their time onboard,? said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. ?We hope our passengers will gain a deeper understanding of what makes New Zealand so special.?

Highlights of Princess? New Zealand cultural program include:

New Zealand Cuisine ? New Zealand?s cuisine will be a focus on each sailing, with Kiwi dishes marked on the menu with the country?s iconic silver fern. Dinner will include items such as Braised New Zealand Lamb Shanks on Lentil Ragout, while lunch menus will feature the country?s Colonial influence with Fish & Chips and Shepherd?s Pie. Passengers can even start their day with a new breakfast selection ? famous NZ Bacon & Egg Pie.

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Wine and Beers ? Bars will feature local Steinlager and Rheineck beers, while the wine lists will include a selection of New Zealand?s acclaimed wines.

New Zealand Island Night ? This festive evening will feature a New Zealand theme, with local food (Lolly Log Cake, for instance) and drink selections (Kiwi Caipirinha among them).

Chef and Bartender Challenge ? A new activity debuting on New Zealand sailings, this TV-style challenge features the ship?s chef and bartender facing off in a competition to make two dishes or five drinks with a secret New Zealand ingredient in just 30 minutes.

Enrichment and Education ? Destination experts will travel with each ship to give passengers information about ports of call, while a park ranger will provide narration as the ship sails through Fiordland National Park. Princess is also working with Tourism New Zealand to present an onboard exhibit where passengers can learn more about local history and culture.

In Port Cultural Programs ? In select New Zealand ports, Maori cultural performers will offer afternoon presentations demonstrating aspects of their culture and heritage. Maori masters will offer workshops in Kapa Haka dance traditions, tiki warrior rituals, Waiata chants, and lessons in Maori language.

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Entertainment ? While the ships are in port in Tauranga and Auckland, passengers can enjoy performances from local entertainers. Maori bands and other local performers are also being added to the lineup. The ships? movie and TV screens will be showing films with a local twist, such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Piano as well as NZ documentaries and sporting events.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a Princess Expert at Cruising2Paradise.com #1-800-738-8837.

Posted by Denise at 06:59 PM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2010

Princess Cruises' Medical Departments Earn Unique Distinction with Prestigious Quality Certification and Accreditation

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Medical Services Attain an Industry First in Healthcare Awards

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (May 6, 2010) - The Princess Cruises Medical Departments have once again been credited with meeting the quality health standards of an internationally recognized healthcare organization.

Following a comprehensive survey of both its shipboard and shoreside medical departments, Princess Cruises has achieved an industry first by being awarded accreditation and ISO 9001:2008 certification for quality in health care. These awards recognize the excellent standards of medical care provided on board Princess' vessels.

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CHKS accreditation was first awarded to Princess in 2006 and, following comprehensive annual external surveys of its medical facilities, staff and procedures, in 2009 was re-accredited for a further three years. CHKS also certified that the Princess medical program meets the International Organization for Standardization's quality standards (ISO 9001:2008) and has a management system in place that consistently meets customer and regulatory requirements. Princess is shortlisted to receive the CHKS Quality Improvement Award.

"I think many people would be surprised and reassured to know that our medical centers achieve similar quality standards to medical facilities ashore," said Dr. Grant Tarling, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Princess Cruises. "We've worked extremely hard to attain these outstanding achievements which demonstrate our dedication to providing the highest standards of medical care for our patients on board our ships."

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CHKS is a major UK based organization which works with public and private health care providers worldwide. They develop best practice standards and are accredited by the International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua), the leading international healthcare quality policy and research organization, as well as by the UK Accreditation Services (UKAS) to award certification to the standards of ISO 9001:2008.

Princess Cruises? medical department offers one of the industry's most advanced sea-going medical programs, featuring a staff of qualified, full-time maritime professionals who work within well equipped facilities suited to the practice of medicine in a maritime environment. In addition to the CHKS accreditation and ISO 9001:2008 certification, Princess' medical program meets or exceeds the cruise ship medical guidelines issued by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

Princess ships are registered in Bermuda, a British Overseas Territory. Princess? certification also applies to the medical programs of its sister lines Cunard Line, P&O Cruises UK, Ocean Village and P&O Cruises Australia, which are also operated by the Princess shoreside medical department.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a Princess Expert at Cruising2Europe.com at #1-800-738-8837.

Posted by Denise at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2010

Launch of Celebrity Cruises' Newest ship 'Eclipses" Others Newest Solstice Class ship named by courageous yachtswoman Emma Pontin

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Miami - (April 26, 2010) - On the heels of her formal naming ceremony, Celebrity Eclipse today officially entered service, following pre-inaugural activities that "eclipsed" others.

Just prior to being named on April 24, Celebrity Eclipse - the latest in a series of five stunning Solstice Class ships from Celebrity Cruises - replaced a previously-planned two-day promotional cruise to instead transport from Bilbao, Spain, to Southampton, England, approximately 2,200 vacationers who had been stranded by the travel disruption caused by the volcanic eruption in Iceland.

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"What a rare and notable way for Celebrity Eclipse to begin her sailing career," said Celebrity Cruises Chairman Richard D. Fain. "Who knew that a $700-million ship would start her career as emergency transport? One of the particular pleasures was seeing how responsive our exceptional crew was, and how much effort they contributed to make sure that these unexpected guests had the time of their lives."

Celebrity Cruises President & CEO Dan Hanrahan shared a similar sentiment with the nearly 2,000 primarily UK-based travel agents, press and other special guests at Saturday's naming ceremony in Southampton: "This truly has been a unique inaugural for Celebrity Eclipse. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine we could be so impacted by a volcano whose name I can't even begin to pronounce."

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Presiding over the naming ceremony was Godmother Emma Pontin, ocean-racing yachtswoman and breast cancer survivor. Prior to her remarks, Hanrahan shared an emotional and personal comment: "Like far too many mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, sisters and brothers, I, too, have lost a loved one to breast cancer. It is therefore especially poignant for me that we have such a noble champion in the fight against breast cancer serving as our Godmother."

"We are indeed privileged to have someone as courageous and abundantly inspiring as she to serve in this revered, time-honored role," said Fain. "In a lovely alignment with Celebrity Cruises, our Godmother, too, makes her living sailing across the world's oceans. But, she does so as an adventuresome, ocean-racing yachtswoman."

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Fain described Pontin's continued devotion to the sport, even in the midst of treatment for breast cancer, from which she emerged victorious: "Her determination to make every day count, her courage, and her positive attitude, even during times of adversity, are tremendously inspiring for everyone - whether battling this disease or overcoming other challenges large or small."

Celebrity Eclipse Godmother Emma Pontin then took the stage, sharing with the audience how honored she felt to be invited to serve in the role, and the special connection she felt with the ship.

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"As someone who has confronted her own mortality through breast cancer, life for me has become more precious than ever," said Pontin. "Every moment counts. I now want memories, not just dreams. And memories are what will be created on this magnificent ship. One of the many dictionary definitions of 'eclipse' is a performance that outshines all that went before.' And eclipse she will. She will unquestionably exceed the expectations of all those who step aboard, and she is without doubt a place where memories will be created by the millions of guests who will experience her delights."

The Celebrity Eclipse naming celebration coincided with a marathon walk in Southampton, the "Celebrity SunWalk," raising funds for the breast cancer charity, "Walk the Walk." The charity was founded by Nina Barough, who served as Godmother of Celebrity Eclipse's sister ship, Celebrity Equinox.

Celebrity Eclipse departed Southampton today on a three-night Paris (Le Havre) cruise. She returns to Southampton to embark on the ship's official maiden voyage departing April 29 with a four-night cruise to Cork (Cobh), Ireland, followed by a series of Mediterranean and Russia and Scandinavian cruises throughout the summer. Celebrity Eclipse will offer Caribbean sailings from the Port of Miami, Florida, beginning this winter.

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Celebrity Cruises is designed for discerning cruisers, with modern, sophisticated environments, impeccable service, enriching and inspiring onboard programs, and world-class cuisine. The ultimate in premium cruising, Celebrity sails in Alaska, Bermuda, California, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, Panama Canal, South America, and year-round in the Galapagos Islands. Celebrity also offers immersive cruisetour experiences in Alaska, Canada, Europe and South America. Celebrity's mega-series of honors include being named the top mega-ship line in Condé Nast Traveler's annual Readers' Choice Awards (November 2009). Celebrity's fleet currently consists of 10 ships. Its $3.7-billion investment in building five stylish Solstice Class ships between 2008-2012 represents the largest newbuild commitment for a single brand in industry history.

Posted by Denise at 05:50 PM | Comments (0)