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Ocean Village To More Than Double In Size

Casual cruising company Ocean Village has announced it will more than double in size in 2006, with the addition of a second ship to offer informal holidays at sea in the Mediterranean and Caribbean. Due to set sail in November 2006, the newer, larger ship will welcome up to 1,690 passengers onboard and offer Ocean Village's unique style of relaxed holidays for younger, more upbeat passengers. The ship will offer fly-cruise holidays to the Caribbean in the winter and Mediterranean in the summer.

The new ship, the Regal Princess, currently part of Princess Cruises' fleet, will be updated to meet Ocean Village's high quality standards and reflect the brand's distinctive look and feel. Whilst similar in layout to the first ship, she will have three times as many balconied cabins. Like her sister she will have unusually spacious accommodation, four restaurants, two pools and a series of bars and entertainment venues providing Ocean Village's unique blend of active and relaxed lifestyles. Further enhancements are planned before the new ship enters service.

Peter Shanks, Managing Director of Ocean Village, comments: "Ocean Village has been shaking up the traditional cruise market since launching its first ship less than two years ago. With the arrival of our second ship, the brand will hit critical mass as the informal cruise holiday of choice. As the newest and freshest take on holidays at sea, Ocean Village has already taken over 150,000 bookings, nearly 60% of them from first time cruisers. With the expansion of our fleet, we are reinforcing Ocean Village's position as the brand with the newest, largest and best-equipped ships in its class."

Further features onboard both the original Ocean Village ship and the new ship include four jacuzzis, eight bars, a theatre, cinema, casino, nightclub, ocean view gym, spa and children's centre. The first Ocean Village ship has a passenger capacity of 1,578, weighs in at 63,500 tons and first entered service in 1989. The second ship will have a capacity of 1,690 passengers - 7% more than the first Ocean Village ship. It is larger at 70,000 tons and is newer, having first entered service in 1991.

Ocean Village is a division of Carnival UK which includes P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Cunard and Swan Hellenic. Ocean Village was voted Best Mainstream Cruise Line at the 2004 British Travel Awards. It also won Best Mediterranean Cruise Operator and Best Budget Cruise Operator in the Selling Cruises Awards 2005.

Clipper Odyssey Cruises Pacific Rim on
Memorable Journeys in August, September 2005


With their traditions, architecture, beauty, and cultures, the nations of the Far East present an extraordinary discovery for visitors. Clipper Cruise Line offers two itineraries (Trade Routes of the Orient and the brand-new Exploring Vietnam) aboard the elegant, 128-passenger Clipper Odyssey that trace the coastlines of Japan, Taiwan, China, and Vietnam in August and September 2005.

"Traveling aboard a small ship in a manner similar to early traders and explorers is the perfect way to visit these beautiful nations," CEO David Drier said. "We've designed these adventures to capture the essence of the people and their cultures. By virtue of its smaller size, advanced navigational technology, and friendly staff, the Clipper Odyssey can ensure guests of a comfortable experience whether we're exploring an uninhabited islet in Vietnam's renowned Halong Bay or transiting bustling Hong Kong harbor," he added.

Boasting many amenities typically found only aboard a luxury yacht, the Clipper Odyssey brings passengers up close to places that are inaccessible to larger cruise ships. The ship features all-outside staterooms that include a sitting area, lower twin- or queen-sized beds, refrigerator, television, personal safe, and individually controlled air-conditioning. The dining room offers prepared-to-order meals in single, open seatings; while the spacious lounges and cozy library provide areas for relaxation after each day's events. In addition, the ship features a passenger elevator, which is extremely rare aboard a small ship. For days at sea, passengers may enjoy the ship's recreational gym, beauty salon, and small pool.

"Trade Routes of the Orient"
Following ancient trade routes established centuries ago, guests aboard the Clipper Odyssey will visit Japan, Taiwan, China, and Vietnam on this 15-day adventure. Travelers will encounter the revered temples and elegant gardens of Japan, the colorful kaleidoscope of Hong Kong, and the lush coastline of Vietnam. Among other highlights are an included visit to Japan's sacred Miyajima Island and optional excursions to the Underground Naval Operations headquarters on Okinawa — site of some of the heaviest fighting in World War II — and the impressive National Palace Museum in T'aipei, which features a spectacular collection of Chinese artifacts. Also included are an overnight at the Hanoi Hilton Hotel and escorted tours of the delightful city. A three-day precruise extension is available in Kyoto at additional cost. Cruise departs on August 23, 2005. Rates begin at $5,970 per person, double occupancy, and include 12 nights aboard the Clipper Odyssey; one postcruise night at the Hanoi Hilton Hotel; all meals during the cruise; all onboard gratuities and port charges; and the services of Clipper's onboard staff and regional experts.

"Exploring Vietnam"
This brand-new 13-day journey offers the exceptional beauty and dramatic contrast of a nation rich in heritage and tradition. During the adventure, Clipper Odyssey passengers will visit Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, magnificent Halong Bay (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and coastal villages to gain a better understanding of this classic nation. Along with extensive sightseeing in the major cities, other included excursions are planned to the imperial city of Hue, the My Son valley near Da Nang, the resort town of Nha Trang, and the impressive Cu Chi tunnels. Two cruises depart on September 2 and 12, 2005. Rates begin at $4,840 per person, double occupancy, and include one night at the Hanoi Hilton Hotel; nine nights aboard the Clipper Odyssey; all meals during the cruise; all sightseeing and shore excursions; all onboard gratuities and port charges; and the services of Clipper's onboard staff and regional experts.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules ADA
Applies to All Cruise Ships in U.S. Waters

Foreign cruise ships that sail in U.S. waters can be sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act for discriminating against disabled passengers, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled. The law applies to foreign-flagged cruise ships in U.S. waters, except for regulating a vessel's internal affairs, it said. By a 5-4 vote, the justices overturned a lower-court ruling that foreign-flagged cruise ships are not covered by the law barring discrimination at places of public accommodation and in public transportation services.

The case had been closely followed by the multibillion-dollar cruise industry. About 10 million people a year take cruises and an estimated 54 million Americans have some type of disability. The case involved a lawsuit against Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd. over three cruises that originated in 1998 and 1999. The ships, the Norwegian Sea and the Norwegian Star, sail under the Bahamian flag.

The lawsuit said physical barriers on the ships denied the disabled passengers access to emergency evacuation equipment and to facilities such as public restrooms, restaurants, swimming pools, elevators and cabins with a balcony or a window. The lawsuit went on to say that Norwegian Cruise Lines charged a premium for use of handicapped-accessible cabins and for assistance of crew members. It sought to require Norwegian Cruise Line to remove certain barriers that obstructed access by the disabled individuals to the ships' facilities.

The case now goes back to the appeals court for further proceedings.

Noted Experts Join The World for Arctic Explorations

A team of five internationally acclaimed experts will join The World during her Arctic exploration this August, including a celebrated naturalist and wildlife photographer, a polar adventure traveler who has walked across the Arctic and a prolific author and birding conservationist.

These noted experts will lead expeditions and tours of unparalleled discovery for Residents and Guests aboard The World, the globe's only private community at sea, in Spitzbergen, Iceland, Greenland and Labrador: Mats Forsberg, a world-renowned expedition leader and nature photographer; glaciologist and climatologist Dr. Roy (Fritz) Koerner; Noel Broadbent, an expert in Nordic archaeology and Arctic anthropology from the Smithsonian Institute; Hallvard Holm, a Svalbard Historian who has lectured around the world on Arctic studies; and author and birding conservationist Roger Lovegrove.

The journey toward the Arctic begins on Aug. 5, when the extraordinary vessel visits her homeland of Norway for twenty days. Charming towns, rugged natural beauty and rich historic sites will be discovered by passengers including that of Bergen, dubbed "The Gateway to the Fjords." From here, Residents and Guests will visit the western fjords including Sognefjord ­ Norway's longest and deepest fjord. Bergen's lively fish market and eighteenth-century wooden houses which line the harbor will lend to the charm of this historical city visit. One highlight in Bergen is a private piano concert in the home of the famed composer, Edvard Grieg.

At Hammerfest on August 21-22, the Arctic experts arrive on board the vessel. Following the vessel's sail past Bjornoya (Bear Island), with the expedition team aboard, the vessel will continue to sail north, well above the Arctic Circle to begin its month-long journey through Spitzbergen, which starts with six days of unusual "Captain's Choice" exploration on Aug. 25. This is one of many single and multi-day excursions designed by The World's own worldly adventurers, Norwegian born Captains Ola S. Harsheim and Dag Sævik. This voyage will reveal the splendors of Spitzbergen, one of the most secluded locations in the world, where sixty percent of the region is classified as a national park and the sun doesn't set for four months a year. Excursions with visiting experts will unveil this largely ice-covered archipelago, home to a vast number of animals and migratory birds.

While in the Arctic, Residents and Guests will enjoy a Champagne toast to the rare scenery of the Arctic Ice Barrier; walk the tundra with expert leaders; visit old seal trapper's huts; zodiac beneath towering cliffs teeming with thousands of birds; see polar scientists at work in their research stations; walk on glaciers, fossicking along the way; enjoy an outdoor 'glacial BBQ;' visit husky dog kennels; and soak in rarely seen natural surroundings, including noisy walruses vying for a position in their massive colonies or polar bears hunting on an ice floe.

Other Arctic stops include:

  • Akureyri: Although only 25 miles south of the Arctic Circle, summer temperatures in Iceland's fourth largest city reach the high 70's. Residents and Guests will experience the world's northernmost botanical garden; whale watch with an expert marine mammalogist; visit an active archaeological dig; taste shark; soak in geothermal swimming pools and participate in a variety of outdoor sports including golf.

  • Reykjavik: Iceland's dynamic capital city is the northernmost capital in the world and the only one heated entirely by geothermal energy. During The World's four days in port, Residents and Guests will uncover a city known as much for being home to the oldest functioning legislative assembly in the world as for its lively nightlife and spectacular scenery. Here, passengers will enjoy mud pools; flight-see over glaciers and active volcanoes; picnic in the remote wilderness via four-wheel drive vehicles; visit folk museums; learn arts and crafts; follow the footsteps of Viking experts; stand atop two tectonic plates in a World Heritage National Park; and ride on Icelandic ponies.

  • Greenland: A land of fantastical and semi-mythical proportions, with aurora borealis, the vast tundra and glittering columns of glacial ice, this region of the Arctic has been selected as part of the continuing "Captain's Choice" itinerary from Sept. 14 to 18, to introduce passengers to its legend.

[ Lebanon, conveniently located on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea ]

New Lebanese Cruise Line

The new Lebanese cruise line, Abou Merhi Cruises (www.orientqueen.com), based in Beirut, features Mediterranean cruises which are combinable and variable in length. Abou Merhi Cruises is selling these multi-day packages also as overlapping cruises. Lebanese ship-owning company Abou Merhi Lines SAL operates also in the general shipping sector, mainly in the car-carrying trades. It bought the Bolero (formerly operated by Festival Cruises), refurbished the vessel from bow to stern and renamed it Orient Queen. The 700-passenger ship is targeting the Lebanese and Arab market. Operations will begin mid-May by offering various combinable cruises from Beirut to, amongst other destinations, Cyprus and Egypt.

Discovery Cruise Line Announces 'Plus' Service

[ DISCOVERY, of Discovery Cruise Line ]

Discovery Cruise Line, the largest tour operator to Grand Bahama Island from South Florida, announced a new service for adult Cruise 'N Stay Vacation package passengers, Discovery Plus. According to Hanns J. Hahn, General Manager of Discovery, "Discovery Plus will enable our adult Cruise 'N Stay Vacation passengers purchasing this service to embark and disembark on a priority basis and, while on board, they will enjoy separate facilities including a sitting room with luggage racks, newspapers, television and beverage service, and separate lavatory facilities, much like airline passengers find in club lounges at airports. It also includes transportation to and from their respective hotels on island."

This new service will commence June 1, 2005, and the cost will be $35 per passenger per round trip sailing.

Discovery sails daily from Ft. Lauderdale to Grand Bahama Island and offers Fun Day Cruises and Cruise 'N Stay Vacation Packages to most resorts on Grand Bahama, including Westin, Sheraton, Wyndham, Best Western and Pelican Bay at Lucaya. Discovery passengers enjoy all the amenities of a traditional cruise in one fun-filled day, including lavish breakfast and lunch buffet meals on the cruise to the island. Discovery departs early morning and arrives in the afternoon so passengers can enjoy the rest of the day on Grand Bahama. On the day of return they can enjoy a full morning and early afternoon on island before boarding for the return cruise, where they will be treated to a lavish buffet dinner, a Las Vegas-style casino, entertainment, shows and more.

Visit http://www.discoverycruiseline.com/ for details, or call one of Discovery's vacation specialists at 1-800-866-8687. Ship's registry Bahamas.

Clipper's California Culinary Cruises
Feature Celebrated Bay Area Wines, Chefs

Clipper Cruise Line will offer guests an insider's look at Northern California's spectacular wine country on six-day culinary cruises along San Francisco Bay aboard the 138-passenger, U.S.-flag Yorktown Clipper. Headlining Clipper's California Wine and Cuisine Experience cruises — departing in May and October 2005 — are highly regarded Bay Area chefs, who will host two special onboard events, and two days of discovery in Napa Valley.


"Featuring the comfortable Yorktown Clipper , this voyage provides an excellent opportunity to sample the celebrated wines and wonderful cuisine that abounds in Northern California," Clipper CEO David Drier said. "With face-to-face demonstrations, customized tours, and regionally focused feasts, we've designed our California Wine and Cuisine discovery to bring forth the gourmand inside every guest. And, even if you don't consider yourself to be a foodie, there's still plenty to enjoy on this journey — from the spectacular views from our hot-air balloon ride over the Napa Valley and on hikes through the majestic redwood forest in Muir Woods National Monument to a memorable cruise past the Golden Gate Bridge and a day of discovery in San Francisco. This virtually all-inclusive trip (rate includes accommodations, cruise and sightseeing transportation, meals, sightseeing, wine-tasting at premier vineyards, and special onboard demonstrations) presents a fabulous way to capture the best that the Bay Area has to offer."

To heighten the gastronomic appreciation for these cruises, Clipper has invited renowned guest chefs to come aboard, interact with passengers, and provide a sampling of their specialties. Among these are Gerald Hirigoyen, named "Best Chef of the Bay Area" in 2003 by San Francisco magazine and executive chef/owner of acclaimed restaurants Piperade, Bocadillos, and Fringale; Traci des Jardins, executive chef/owner of Jardinière and ACME Chophouse in San Francisco; Joanne Weir, host of the "Weir Cooking" … series on PBS; Salina Rubio, pastry chef at the renowned Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur; Elizabeth Falkner, owner of Citizen Cake; Patty Dellamonica-Bauler, pastry chef at One Market in San Francisco; and Alice Medrich, award-winning cookbook author of Cocolat and Chocolate and the Art of Low Fat Desserts. In addition, Brent Trojan, wine educator for the Napa Valley Wine Train, will lead discussions on pairing food with various wines and offer a sampling of the region's many wonderful offerings.

These adventures will combine the delightful towns of Marin County and Napa Valley with the cosmopolitan charm and world-renowned cuisine of San Francisco. On a round-trip voyage from Redwood City (conveniently located a few miles south of the San Francisco International Airport), guests will delight in two onboard receptions featuring a guest pastry chef and guest master chef chosen for that departure. During two days in Vallejo, passengers will be treated to a reception at the acclaimed Napa Valley resort Auberge du Soleil; a tour at COPIA-The American Center for Wine, Food, and the Arts; a hot-air balloon ride over Napa Valley; and plenty of time at leisure to explore and sample many scenic and celebrated vineyards – such as Niebaum-Coppola (featuring a robust collection of red wines and a museum of artifacts from the career of director Francis Ford Coppola), Silverado Vineyards (located in the heart of the Stags Leap District and recognized for its whites and limited reserve cabernets), and Domaine Carneros (renowned for its sparkling wines). Also offered are a tour, private cooking demonstration, and lunch at the Culinary Institute of America's campus at Greystone (the training ground for many of Clipper's own chefs). In Sausalito, guests can visit the giant redwood forest at Muir Woods or enjoy time at leisure among the boutiques and galleries in the picturesque bayside town. A full day in San Francisco offers a panoramic city tour, an afternoon at leisure, and an opportunity to enjoy an evening at one of the city's legendary restaurants, with reservations and limousine transportation to the dinner all arranged by Clipper.

Stateroom rates for Clipper's six-day California Wine and Cuisine Experience begin at $2,240 (per person, double occupancy) for the spring departures and $2,290 (per person, double occupancy) for the fall options. The cruise rate includes five nights aboard the Yorktown Clipper; all meals, including wine with lunch and dinner aboard the ship; all sightseeing, shore excursions, and wine tasting at selected vineyards; all lectures and demonstrations performed by guest chefs and Clipper's onboard regional experts; special events; and the services of Clipper's professional cruise director and hospitality staff. Six departures leave Redwood City on May 2 and 7; and October 16, 21, 26, and 31, 2005. An optional four-day precruise extension is available for Sacramento and Yosemite National Park at an additional cost.

Deutschland to Operate Three South Africa Cruises in 2006

Four of South Africa's fascinating port cities, its countryside, vineyards and unrivaled wildlife and sea life together with Namibia, Kenya, Zanzibar and other islands in the Indian Ocean are on the itineraries of three adventurous ocean voyages of 15 and 16 nights aboard Peter Deilmann Cruises' luxury liner MS Deutschland around southern Africa in January-February 2006. Deilmann is offering 10 percent savings with cabin prices starting at $4,626 and special charter arrangements allowing guests from the U.S. to fly roundtrip to Africa from a choice of 48 U.S. gateways for only $549 to $699.

On these voyages, the five-star Deutschland sails two oceans – South Atlantic and Indian – and to where they meet at the tip of the continent. The air/cruise combination package, starting at $5,175 from 16 East Coast cities, includes round-trip flights to and from Africa. Air/cruise package rates from West Coast cities start at $5,325.

In addition to the 10 percent reduction in cabin prices and low air fares, the cruise line is providing free transfers to and from the ship when air is purchased through Deilmann and a 50% reduction on pre-arranged packages of shore excursions.

The first cruise, departing Jan. 4, 2006, on the "Grand Hotel" Deutschland sails from Port Louis on the former British island of Mauritius to Le Port on the French island of Reunion and to Fort Dauphin on Madagascar – fabled islands known for their breathtaking scenery and palm-lined beaches. Then it's on to four South African cities including modern Durban, the country's third largest city and tourist center with a subtropical climate and long stretches of beaches. At Port Elizabeth, another popular vacation destination with beautiful beaches, excursion options include the Addo National Park of elephants and antelopes. The 15-night cruise ends with two nights in Capetown.

The second cruise, also 15 nights departing Jan. 17, sails roundtrip from Cape Town first to Walvis Bay, Namibia, where optional excursions include a half-day boat trip to view seals and dolphins, a small plane flight for aerial views of the Spitzkoppe – Namibia's "Matterhorn," the lunar-like desert landscape and Khan River Canyon and an overnight safari sojourn in Ethosha National Park. South Africa port calls include East London, Durban and Port Elizabeth. From Capetown, there is a optional full-day excursion to the Cape of Good Hope that includes a drive along the breathtaking coast road along the Chapman Peak mountain range, views from the lighthouses at the Cape and a winery visit on the return trip. Passengers can opt instead for a scenic helicopter flight of the Cape.

The third cruise of 16 nights, departing Jan. 30, is from Cape Town to Mombasa, Kenya, with port calls in Port Elizabeth, Durban and Richard's Bay, South Africa; Nosy Be, Madagascar; Dzaoudzi on the little known French island of Mayotte and the idyllic island of Zanzibar, described as the best-kept secret in the Indian Ocean with its historical Stone Town and brilliant white sand beaches. Zanzibar has lured traders, adventurers and explorers for centuries – the earliest were Arab traders said to have arrived in the 8th century. Some stayed to settle and rule. Widespread intermarriage gave rise to a distinctive coastal community and a language derived in part from Arabic known as Swahili, which comes from the Arab word for coast.


The 286-cabin MS Deutschland, a truly classic ocean liner launched in 1998 and refurbished annually, is a richly decorated vessel in art nouveau and Art Deco styles recalling the early days of grand ocean travel. Staterooms are beautifully appointed with ample wardrobe space and well-designed bathrooms. The very high-level of service adds to passengers' comfort with one crew member for every two passengers. Gourmet dining has always been the hallmark of a grand journey at sea and is so aboard the Deutschland. Readers of Condé Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure magazines rate Deilmann Cruises highly for its food as does the prestigious organization Chaine des Rotisseurs, which has recognized the level of excellence of the dining creations prepared by the Deutschland's chef de cuisine and his experienced team.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines to Name Fourth Ship Boudicca

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has announced that its fourth ship, which will join the fleet in early 2006, is to be named Boudicca. The name has been carefully selected to reflect the company's ongoing commitment to the British market. Boudicca is a sister ship to Fred. Olsen's Black Watch and the Englishness of her name perfectly contrasts with Black Watch's strong Scottish connections.

Mike Rodwell, managing director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines said: "What more fitting tribute to a ship that will be operating out of the ports of Dover and Southampton, than to name her after a great English queen? Boudicca means 'victorious' and we look forward to seeing her taking the seas by storm next year." Fred. Olsen is buying the ship – currently badged Grand Latino - from Grand Latino Navegacion S.A. of Spain and will be taking delivery in October this year. An extensive refit will be undertaken over the winter, prior to her entering service with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines in early 2006. Originally built as Royal Viking Sky, the refit of the 28,388 grt vessel will include the creation of several dedicated single cabins, in keeping with the company's tradition. The final occupancy is expected to be around 810 lower berths.

Nigel Lingard, marketing director for the line, added "The addition of Boudicca to our fleet will allow us to operate a wider choice of itineraries and home ports for our customers, satisfying the increasing demand for our very special style of smaller ship cruising."

Cruise Ships to Boost Cardiff Tourism
Western Mail · Darren Devine

The number of cruise ships visiting Cardiff could grow by more than 200% over the next two years as the port aims to promote itself as the Celtic answer to Spain's Catalan capital Barcelona. And port and city chiefs are hoping Cardiff could become a UK centre for holidaymakers joining cruise ships bound for European ports, as well as those around Britain and Ireland.

Owner of the Port of Cardiff, Associated British Ports and the city's Harbour Authority are among those planning to promote the capital as a UK stop-off offering similar attractions to Barcelona. Along with port and city bosses the Cardiff Initiative, which promotes the capital abroad, believes the West Midlands will provide a healthy slice of the demand for cruises from the port.

It is hoped the city can maximise the economic benefits by providing post-cruise hospi-tality packages, encouraging people to spend time in South Wales to add to their holiday. The Cardiff Initiative has just returned from a promotional trip to Miami, where the world's biggest annual conference for cruise liners, Seatrade, was held. General manager Richard Jones met the operators of the Princess and the Royal Caribbean during the trip. He said, "Cardiff and Wales had a much higher profile at Seatrade than last year. More cruise lines - especially those at the luxury end of the market - are looking at the city as a new destination. We are looking to generate cruise ship activity for 2007, 2008 and 2009, with the aim of Cardiff calls reaching double figures in 2008. There is also huge potential for cruise-and-stay packages starting from Cardiff, with the West Midlands only two hours away by motorway."

Final arrangements are being made for three cruise ship visits so far this year.

The World Announces 2006 Itinerary

[THE WORLD of ResidenSea]

The World, the only private community at sea, has announced its 2006 itinerary. Highlights of the itinerary confirm that another year of carefully chosen destinations and well-crafted excursions awaits its Residents and Guests, including stops at American ports in Florida, Louisiana and Hawaii, more than 10 days in Mexican ports, more than 20 days in Japan and an extensive number of other Asian port stops in South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines, as well as unforgettable, month-long explorations in the ports of China, Australia and New Zealand.

The World's 2006 itinerary will also offer another 17 days of the popular "Captain's Choice" treks, which are planned, although unannounced, stops. A mix of single and multi-day trips, "Captain's Choice" excursions are interspersed throughout the 2005 and planned 2006 itinerary and will introduce passengers to many of the world's most secluded locations. Examples in 2006 may include protected atolls in French Polynesia, isolated and ruggedly beautiful locations in Queensland, and heavenly islands in Fiji.

"We are delighted to announce our itinerary to residents and future guests so early in the 2005 season. The World's annual itineraries are always focused on discovery, and this year is no exception. This continues to be one of the most important distinctions between the opportunities afforded to the guests of The World versus the typical cruise passenger, and our 2006 travel plans for countries including Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand perhaps demonstrate this the most," says James St. John III, president of ResidenSea, Ltd., the management company behind The World.

No-Frills Cruise Line Offers Europe Sailings

A no-frills cruise line that charges extra for nearly everything is coming to the French and Italian Riviera, Europe's playgrounds for the rich. EasyCruise, which began taking bookings last month, charges about $56 and up per person each night for Spartan, mostly windowless cabins. That doesn't cover housekeeping, priced at about $19 a visit, or food.

You can sign up for as few as two nights on the seven-night sailings, which call in Monaco; Nice, Cannes and St. Tropez in France; and Portofino, Genoa and Imperia (for San Remo) in Italy. The first departure is expected by May 13.


EasyCruise is the brainchild of Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the Greek-born entrepreneur who founded the low-cost EasyJet airline a decade ago. The iconoclastic Stelios said his cruise line is based on "the exact opposite of what the cruise industry believes now." EasyCruise eschews lavish amenities designed to keep you on the ship. You won't find a casino, a gym or a swimming pool on the 170-passenger EasyCruiseOne, although it will have a hot tub, plus cafés and bars with food and alcoholic beverages for sale.

Instead of docking in the morning and sailing in the evening, the ship will pull into port about 1pm, stay through the evening and depart about 4am. The ship's schedule affords passengers ample opportunity to sample Riviera nightlife, and the firm is angling for a younger, independent-minded audience. (Guests must be at least 18.) More information: 011-44-1895-651-191 or www.easycruise.com .

Star Cruises and Valuair Launch Fly-Cruise

Star Cruises Group and Singapore's low-cost carrier Valuair have launched the first fly-cruise package for travel between Singapore and Bangkok. The launch was the result of a strategic alliance between Star Cruises and Valuair that saw the cruise line taking up an equity stake in Valuair, Star Cruises said in a statement.

"Our alliance with Valuair opens up new possibilities to further enhance and build the sea and air connectivity within the Asia Pacific region, that is an important element of our international sales and marketing efforts," said Star Cruises chief operating officer Chong Chee Tut.

The fly-cruise package from Singapore would see passengers flying to Bangkok with Valuair and cruising back to Singapore onboard Superstar Virgo with a stopover in Ko Samui. The package is on a twin-sharing basis and includes hotel accommodation in Bangkok, one-way airfare, transfers and cruise passage.

There would be three special departures for the six days/five nights full cruise holiday on March 20, June 19 and Sept 25, the cruise line said. Chong said the two companies planned to launch the fly-cruise packages in other markets over the next few months with flexibility in terms of schedules and pricing built in. Valuair chief executive Sim Kay Wee said the fly-cruise package would pave the way for a series of other joint products between the two entities.

Discovery Cruise Line Carries
4 Millionth Person to Grand Bahama

Line Begins Celebratory Campaign

[DISCOVERY, of Discovery Cruise Line]

Discovery Cruise Line, the largest tour operator to Grand Bahama Island, has recognized the four millionth person it has carried between Fort Lauderdale and the island destination.

The lucky person, actually a couple, was Mr. and Mrs. Roger Forget from Sunrise, Florida. To celebrate the event, Discovery refunded the winners' cruise and stay vacation cost, including the cruise and their accommodations at The Westin Beach & Golf Resort at Our Lucaya. In addition, the couple was awarded a certificate entitling them to cruise free on Discovery every year for the rest of their lives. The certificate also includes seven-course dining in Discovery's award-winning Grand Bahama Grill. Upon their arrival in Grand Bahama, the Forgets were introduced to the Minister of Tourism of The Bahamas, The Honourable Obediah H. Wilchombe, at the conclusion of the National Tourism Conference.

The recognition of the four-millionth passenger also triggered the start of a new advertising campaign by Discovery, which offers passengers traveling now through August 15, 2005, a discount of $40 per couple off the regular published rate for Cruise 'N Stay Vacation Packages for travel between August 16, 2005 and January 31, 2006. In addition, each passenger will receive a commemorative beaded necklace affixed with a tag that reads "4 Million Passengers and Counting." Select retailers on the island are offering people wearing the necklace a gift-with-purchase at their stores on island. The promotion is currently under way and expires August 15, 2005.

According to Hanns J. Hahn, the General Manager of Discovery, "Carrying over four million people between Ft. Lauderdale and Grand Bahama is a significant accomplishment and speaks volumes about our service, food and reliability, but it pales in comparison to the economic benefit these visitors have bestowed on the islands and its people." Using government statistics on the average spend per visitor, Mr. Hahn estimates "that this daily service to Grand Bahama has contributed over $2 billion to the Bahamian economy since Discovery started operations seventeen years ago. And," he said, "we plan to continue Discovery's business for many years to come, thereby increasing the economic benefit to the island every year, and indeed every month."

Discovery has not only been the most reliable means of transportation and hotel bookings to the islands over the years, but it has been a true partner and friend to the residents of Grand Bahama, bringing millions of dollars of water, food and supplies to its population in times of need, as evidenced by its immediate assistance to the island following the hurricanes that ravished the island in 2004.

Discovery sails daily from Ft. Lauderdale to Grand Bahama Island and offers Fun Day Cruises and Cruise 'N Stay Vacation Packages to most resorts on Grand Bahama, including Westin, Sheraton, Wyndham, Best Western and Pelican Bay at Lucaya.

Practical Cookbook Changes Perceptions About Baltic Cuisine

[What's Cooking in the Baltic]

From Norway's grilled turbot with oxtails ragout to traditional Danish strawberry compote, a cookbook illustrates Baltic dishes in an easy-to-use flip binder. Have you ever wondered what Swedes, Norwegians or Russians eat for dinner besides herring, potatoes and sauerkraut? Northern Europeans have been cooking for thousands of years, and have a wider variety of delectable dishes to offer than many suspect. Now, consumers can prepare authentic Baltic dishes with the new recipe book, What's Cooking in the Baltic. Providing a variety of traditional regional recipes, the book can be purchased at the Stockholm Cruising Capital Network's Web site at www.stockholmcruise.com for 225 SEK, approximately U.S. $31.33, plus shipping.

The cookbook provides an illustrated array of delicacies from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Norway, Russia and Sweden. Each country's cruise port destinations contributed a characteristic menu for a three-course meal including an entrée or appetizer, a main course and dessert. Bound in a ring binder, the book's pages are divided into three sections, which enables readers to combine recipes. In fact, there are more than 2,700 possible combinations. Ranging from mushrooms and beets to salmon and reindeer to rhubarb and wild strawberries, the cookbook offers a wide variety of choices.

In the front of the book there is an overview of each the 14 contributing destinations including Arhus, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Helsingborg, Kalmar, Klaipeda, Oslo, Ronne, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Turku, Visby and Ystad. Next follows the recipes, which are partitioned into three separate divisions. Appetizers, called entrées in the book, are on top, main courses are in the middle and desserts are in the bottom divider. Each recipe is situated on the left and a picture of the prepared dish is on the right. In the back there is a table for converting measuring units along with a recipe index listing the destinations of origin and page numbers. A contact page follows which includes the Web sites of the Baltic cruise ports.

To purchase the book, visit Stockholm Visitor's Board Web site at www.stockholmcruise.com. The home page provides a hotlink to the Stockholm Shop's Web page on the bottom right side. During the purchase process, a log-in page pops up in which buyers must create a user account to purchase items. Once completed, a confirmation page loads verifying the information is accurate. An e-mail confirmation is sent to the buyer with an order number, a contact e-mail and phone number.

The Stockholm Cruising Capital network was created to enhance awareness of Stockholm as a cruise port and tourist destination among U.S. travel agents, consumers and cruise lines. Members include the Stockholm Visitors Board, Ports of Stockholm and an extensive local network that includes Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS), Stockholm Arlanda International Airport and numerous port agents, ground operators, local transportation companies, hotels, restaurants and shops.

Carnival Corporation & plc Reaches Agreement
with Cousteau Society to Fund Restoration of
Legendary Ocean Research Vessel Calypso

[Jacques Yves-Cousteau's CALYPSO]

The Cousteau Society and Carnival Corporation plc (NYSE:CCL) (NYSE:CUK) have reached an agreement in principle to restore the Calypso, the legendary research and expedition vessel of Captain Jacques Yves Cousteau. Once restored, Calypso will become an exhibit and a center for science and the environment.

The Cousteau Society has been diligently working toward a successful solution for this historic vessel. The last eight months have been used to put together a plan to restore the former American minesweeper as authentically as possible. "I'm so pleased at this outcome, as I know Captain Cousteau would have been," said Francine Cousteau, widow of Jacques Cousteau and president of the Cousteau Society.

Calypso will be restored at a shipyard in Grand Bahama, The Bahamas, at an estimated cost of $1.3 million, with work expected to be completed by the end of 2005. The vessel's new location, following refurbishment, is to be announced at a later date. The Calypso will maintain its French flag and will remain a historic symbol of the extraordinary work of Captain Cousteau and the Cousteau Society, which carries on his work in science and education for public awareness, as well as for international university research.

According to Giora Israel, vice president of strategic planning for Carnival Corporation, restoring the Calypso is a unique opportunity to preserve a part of history and maintain a world-famous icon for marine research and environmental preservation. "The company views its funding of the Calypso's restoration as a tribute to the Cousteau organization whose contributions to marine science and education are immeasurable," said Israel. "As the world's largest cruise operator, Carnival Corporation's success relies on the health of the world's oceans and the restoration of the Calypso will serve to expose new generations to the Calypso story and allow this famous ship to continue to educate the public on the importance of protecting our precious natural resources," he added.

Mr. Loel Guiness, who owns the Calypso and created, along with Francine Cousteau, Arionis, a non-profit organization to save the vessel, expressed great satisfaction at this outcome, which corresponds to his wishes to see Calypso remain an icon for science and education. Calypso was involved in a mooring accident and sank in the harbor of Singapore in 1996. Captain Cousteau decided then that the vessel must be saved and arranged to have her transported back to France, writing to The Cousteau Society, "I want Calypso to remain at the service of science and education." He began a campaign to find a permanent shelter for the vessel and ultimately the city of La Rochelle, France, offered a program to secure Calypso's future. Unfortunately, the La Rochelle plans were never realized and the Calypso has remained there in a caretaker status, in an increasingly debilitated condition.

The announcement of the Calypso's rescue caps an extremely successful year for The Cousteau Society. The organization's achievements include completion of an expedition to the Red Sea fifty years following Captain Cousteau's historic first exploration of the region that resulted in the award-winning films "Silent World" and "World Without Sun"; a world-wide exhibition including a feature film shown in Paris, Zurich, Geneva, New York, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Valencia, Genoa and on permanent exhibit at the Museum of Oceanography in Monaco (the expedition and film were underwritten by IWC, the prestigious watch company based in Schaffausen, Switzerland); the establishment of the first Cousteau Chairs in North America at Rhode Island University and Rutgers University, New Jersey (The Cousteau Chairs, funded by UNESCO, operate on five continents and train students to manage sustainable development and long term risks); the appointment of Jean Jaubert, Chief Scientist and Chief of Expeditions, as Director of the Museum of Oceanography in Monaco; the expansion of Cousteau Kids, a magazine in association with Weekly Reader, one of the largest educational publishers in the world. Also, the Cousteau Society has signed a partnership agreement with the Foundation Albert I in cooperation with the Museum of Oceanography in Monaco and the Institute in Paris in order to develop new programs for the public as well as for the Universities.

The refurbishing of the vessel also creates an opportunity for the Cousteau Society to produce a book and a new movie about the incredible adventure of the most regarded exploration vessel of her time -- the Calypso.

New Cruise Ship Terminal for London

A new passenger cruise ship terminal for London has opened. Designed, constructed and owned by the Port of London Authority, the facility is a key step in attracting more international cruise ships to visit London. The commissioning ceremony took place on the Thames at Greenwich with Keith Hill MP, Minister of State for London. The purpose-built floating terminal will be used by passengers beginning and ending their cruises in central London. Modelled on an airport layout, it includes the very latest security screening, segregating passengers and their luggage. The facility fully meets the requirements of the new ISPS (International Ship & Port Security) code. There is also provision for on-site Immigration and Customs.

Because it is a floating terminal, the Port of London Authority will be able to use it for cruise ships moored at Greenwich and at Tower Bridge. Now ships up to 240 metres long and up to 1000 passengers will be able to sail into the heart of London and carry out full passenger and baggage embarkation and disembarkation. Commenting on the new terminal, Geoff Adam, head of marketing at the Port of London said: "This innovative new floating passenger terminal is a world first. It is attracting considerable interest in the world cruise industry and we are confident it will attract more cruise ships to London. This is good news for the Thames and a boost to London's tourist economy."

[S/S Catalina, by Ken Marschall]

Historic S/S Catalina Project

The Mexican government has ceded ownership of the S/S Catalina, built in 1924 by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley, to the SS Catalina Preservation Association, but the historic one-of-a-kind vessel must be repaired and moved to make way for a new cruise ship dock.

The "Current Update" (October 6, 2004) on the Association's website makes fascinating reading:
SS Catalina Preservation Association
(Painting by Ken Marschall, 1999)

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