Monday, March 31, 2008

Carnival Corp Announces Fuel Supplement Refund

Carnival Corp has announced a voluntary refund of the company’s fuel supplement for applicable U.S. bookings that were made prior to Nov 7, 2007, under an agreement with the Florida Attorney General’s Office. The fuel supplement, announced Nov 7, 2007, was applied to all U.S. bookings for voyages departing on or after Feb 1, 2008, regardless of when the booking was made, for cruises on the Carnival Corp brands Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and The Yachts of Seabourn. However, this effective date allowed guests already booked at the time of the announcement the opportunity to cancel and receive a full refund.

The company will now refund the fuel supplement for those guests who were already booked at the time the supplement was announced. Refunds for affected guests will be implemented based on cruise departure date according to the following schedule:

  • For cruises departing on or prior to April 4, 2008, guests will receive a refund in the same form they used to purchase their cruise.
  • For cruises departing from April 5, 2008 through June 23, 2008, guests will receive an on-board credit.
  • For cruises departing on or after June 24, 2008, guests’ bookings will be adjusted to remove the supplement.

The fuel supplement remains in effect for all bookings made on or after Nov 7, 2007. The $5 per person per day fuel supplement applies only to the first and second guests in a stateroom and will not exceed $70 per person per voyage.

This announcement will have no impact on the company’s previously reported 2008 first quarter financial results or its March 20, 2008, guidance for the second quarter and full year 2008 since the company did not recognize fuel supplement revenues associated with bookings made prior to Nov 7, 2007, while the Florida Attorney General’s Office was conducting its review.

Carnival Corp is the largest cruise vacation group in the world, with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe and Australia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, The Yachts of Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Ibero Cruises, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia. Together, these brands operate 85 ships totaling more than 160,000 lower berths with 21 new ships scheduled to enter service between April 2008 and June 2012.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Days Ashore in Alaska Could Become Shorter

Oops. Somebody goofed. As the Anchorage Daily News has reported, "Starting this year, large cruise ships transiting Alaska waters will be the first in the country required to obtain a permit to discharge their waste in state waters."

The problem? Cruise lines can't apply for the permit because there isn't a shipboard technology available that would enable their ships to comply with the new rule. Thus, as the newspaper says, "An easier solution for the cruise lines is simply not to apply for a permit. The ships could instead discharge their treated wastewater in federal waters. One cruise line, Royal Caribbean, already does that to avoid any possible concerns with its dumping in state waters."

However, not all ships have enough capacity in their tanks to store treated wastewater for their entire itinerary and might need to detour out to the open ocean mid-voyage to dump it. Thus, their passengers may end up spending less time in ports. Despite the fact that cruise lines "have installed new sewage treatment systems on the ships traveling to Alaska to meet state and federal requirements" that's not good enough for Alaska. Those systems treat sewage and the new rules concentrate on trace metals, such as zinc, nickel, and copper, or ammonia. Allowable levels of those contaminants are the ones that cruise ships will have difficulty meeting under the new regulations. "Though the ships have a two-year grace period before they must meet stringent new requirements, it might not be sufficient," said John Binkley, the head of the Alaska Cruise Association.

"State regulators say the stricter standards are required by the cruise ship ballot initiative passed in 2006." We wonder, did the voters of Alaska really understand the initiative? If the goal of Alaska's state environmental regulators is to kill cruise tourism in their state, they are certainly headed in the right direction.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Want to Cruise? Get a Passport Before the Rush

It's official. The Dept of Homeland Security has stopped dithering with dates and announced that travelers will be required to present a passport or other approved secure document denoting citizenship and identity for all land and SEA travel into the United States effective June 1, 2009. The final rule for the land and sea portion of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), announced March 27, applies to previously exempt travelers, including citizens of the U.S., Canada, and Bermuda.

Dept of Homeland Security offers the details on their website, but the bottom line is that if you have a cruise planned for next year, get in line now to apply for a passport. Processing times at present are within four weeks from the time of application; however, that could all change.

Remember last year? As applications flooded in, passport processing centers were "overwhelmed" by the "unprecedented" demand. Previously announced passport requirements resulted in millions of applications and the State Department was unprepared to process them in a timely fashion. From personal experience, the anxiety isn't worth waiting to apply. You could find yourself in Passport Purgatory if you do.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Can You Guess “Whodunit” On Your Mystery Cruise?

If you've ever wanted to play the part of a Crime Scene Investigator, here's your chance...

Carnival Cruise Lines and Whodunit Productions, the leading organizer of mystery cruises at sea, are partners in crime for a series of “Whodunit Cruises” aboard the 2,052-passenger “Fun Ship” Carnival Paradise from Long Beach, Calif., in 2008 and 2009. Eight different 3-day “Mystery Cruises” will be offered, the first of which will depart, appropriately enough, on Halloween, Oct. 31, 2008. Other departure dates include Jan. 9, Feb. 13, March 13, May 1, July 17, Oct. 30, and Dec. 4, 2009.

“Whodunit Cruises” on board Carnival Paradise will encompass a variety of puzzling activities set to take place throughout the public rooms and areas aboard the 70,000-ton ship, all with the objective of solving the mystery at the end of the voyage. Upon embarkation, participants are given their own role to play and are encouraged to utilize the traits of their character to find out “whodunit.” “Mystery Cruise” participants will also interact with professional actors hired specifically to set the tone for the mystery by creating an unforgettable atmosphere of suspense and intrigue. A variety of top-secret clues, everything from notes slipped discreetly under stateroom doors to instructions for various clandestine missions, are provided throughout the cruise. As the clues unravel, participants have to solve the mystery – before it’s too late! In addition to the opportunity to put their crime-solving skills to the test, “Mystery Cruise” participants can enjoy a special Super Sleuth cocktail party at the end of the cruise to announce the Whodunit winner.

While aboard Carnival Paradise, “Mystery Cruise” participants can enjoy the ship’s wide range of “resort-style” facilities and features – 12 lounges and bars with dramatic interiors that celebrate the great ships of yesteryear, three swimming pools – one with a 115-foot-long water slide – along with a 12,000-square-foot Spa Carnival facility, full casino gambling and on-board duty-free shopping. Dining options include two formal restaurants with extensive menus and wine lists, a casual poolside eatery featuring breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets and a 24-hour pizzeria, a patisserie offering specialty coffees and sweets, and complimentary 24-hour stateroom service. Wi-Fi access and cellular phone service are also available. Additionally, each of the Carnival Paradise’s 1,026 staterooms features the Carnival Comfort Bed sleep system with plush mattresses, luxurious duvets and high quality linens and pillows.

Sign up now for the Carnival Paradise “Whodunit Cruises” by contacting Carnival’s special “Mystery Cruise” toll-free reservations number at 1-866-857-7080. Fare code CPMM/FPMM must be requested for individual bookings or CPMG/FPMG for group bookings. Participants must visit after making their booking to register for the various on-board activities. Information on the Carnival “Fun Ship” vacation experience is also available by contacting any travel agent, calling 1-800-CARNIVAL or visiting

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

MSC Cruises: As American as Apple Pie & BASEBALL

MSC Cruises will kick off a new series of baseball greats theme cruises on the Dec. 13 sailing of MSC Lirica. The seven-night Western Caribbean itinerary roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale provides unique insight into the world of Major League Baseball as seen through the eyes of some of the greats of the game. Special guests on this itinerary will be Hall-of-Famer Bob Feller, Dave Campbell, Tommy Davis, Jeff Torborg, and Stan Bahnsen.

The baseball theme cruise features complimentary interactive guest/player activities, including a player-hosted trivia game in which guests can test their baseball knowledge, question-and-answer sessions with the players, a passenger pitching contest, and a lively story-telling session during which the players share some candid revelations about some of the “characters” of the game. Players will also host pitching, hitting, fielding and base running clinics. Perhaps the most popular activity is the autograph session at the end of the cruise.

“Guests have repeatedly told us how much they enjoyed meeting and interacting with the players during past seasons’ baseball theme cruises so it was a natural for us to continue this program for our guests,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises USA.

While in port, guests can take a “seventh-inning stretch” from talking baseball to explore ports of call – Key West, Florida; Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; and Cayo Levantado, Dominican Republic. In addition to experiencing the different cultures and shore excursions, guests can visit the line’s private paradise on Cayo Levantado, where they will have the option to explore the waters around the island and view humpback whales as they arrive in the warmer Caribbean waters off the coast of the Dominican Republic to mate and enjoy their newborns.

MSC Cruises also has a full slate of baseball theme cruises scheduled for winter 2009 Caribbean season. MSC Orchestra, one of the line’s newest ships, will host baseball greats on its Jan. 24 Western Caribbean itinerary, and its Feb. 28, March 28 and April 11 Eastern Caribbean itineraries.For more information about MSC Cruises and its Baseball Greats theme cruises, visit or your local travel professional.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Carnival Offers All-Inclusive Cruise/Air Packages to Europe

Are you looking for a more affordable way to see Europe this summer? Carnival Cruise Lines is offering special cruise/air packages for its 12-day “Grand Mediterranean” and “Mediterranean, Greece & Turkey” cruises aboard the 2,974-passenger Carnival Freedom, with special rates available in conjunction with nearly 40 different North American gateway cities and eight different “Grand Mediterranean” and “Mediterranean, Greece & Turkey” voyages departing June through August. Both itineraries operate round-trip from Rome (Civitavecchia).

  • The special cruise/air packages are available when booking Carnival Freedom’s 12-day “Grand Mediterranean” cruises departing June 3 and 27, July 9 and 21 and Aug. 2 and 26, 2008. These voyages visit seven ports: Naples, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Venice (two-day call), Italy; Messina, Sicily; Barcelona, Spain; Cannes, France; and Livorno, Italy. On those cruises, guests can visit Capri, Taormina, Monte Carlo, Florence and Pisa, home to centuries-old landmarks and celebrated museums. The two-day Venice call offers myriad opportunities to view that city’s stunning architecture and visit magnificent museums and cathedrals.
  • Cruise/air packages are also available in conjunction with Carnival Freedom’s 12-day “Mediterranean, Greece & Turkey” voyages departing June 15 and Aug. 14. These voyages feature eight ports: Naples, Italy; Marmaris, Turkey; Izmir (Ephesus) and Istanbul, Turkey; scenic cruising of the Dardanelles; Athens (Piraeus) and Katakolon, Greece; and Livorno, Italy; and an overnight call in Rome (Civitavecchia). Highlights include Greece’s legendary Acropolis and the ancient settlements of Olympia, Priere, Didyma, and Miletus. Guests can also visit Istanbul’s fabled Blue Mosque, and tour the Coliseum or Vatican City during the overnight call in Civitavecchia.
A “floating resort” in every sense, Carnival Freedom features 22 lounges and bars, four swimming pools, a 13,300-square-foot spa, 100 percent “bow-to-stern” wireless Internet access, cell phone service, and “Carnival’s Seaside Theatre,” a 270-square-foot LED screen displaying movies, concerts and other programming. A wide variety of formal and casual dining options – including twin two-level main dining rooms, a reservations-only supper club and a 1,400-seat casual eatery with 24-hour pizza and ice cream – are also available. Organized activities for kids in three age groups, including “Camp Carnival” for kids 2-11, “Circle C” for 12- to 14-year olds, and “Club O2” for older teens – are among the ship’s numerous family-friendly amenities. Also featured is a wide selection of spacious staterooms, including hundreds with private balconies – ideal for scenic European cruising. All Carnival Freedom staterooms include the Carnival Comfort Bed sleep system with plush mattresses, luxurious duvets and high quality linens and pillows.

Carnival is accepting reservations on all of the Carnival Freedom’s various 2008 European departures. Cruise/air packages are for select departure dates and subject to change without notice. Special rates for third and fourth guests sailing in the same stateroom, as well as pre- and post-cruise land stays in Rome are also available. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

To get a closer glimpse of Carnival Freedom, check out's report from the Inaugural Caribbean Cruise.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Royal Caribbean Hunts for First-Ever British Godmother for 'Independence of the Seas'

Royal Caribbean Intl has launched a nationwide search for a British Godmother to reign over the cruise line's newest and largest ship, Independence of the Seas, when she launches in Southampton, next month (April 2008). Sir Steve Redgrave, five-time Olympic gold medallist and figure head of the Steve Redgrave Fund, will front the cruise line's search for Independence of the Seas' Godmother. Royal Caribbean Intl began its nationwide call for Godmother nominations on Monday, March 24, 2008, working in conjunction with ITV, the UK's biggest commercial television station.

The role of a Godmother is typically reserved for dignitaries or celebrities. Past Royal Caribbean Godmothers have included Her Majesty Queen Sonja of Norway, Lauren Bacall, Whoopi Goldberg, Gloria Estefan, Steffi Graff and champion wheelchair marathoner Jean Driscoll. Unusually, Royal Caribbean Intl is calling for an ordinary British woman who has done extraordinary things to become Godmother to the new Independence of the Seas this April. This special Godmother will demonstrate how she has gone above and beyond the call of duty and dedicated incredible time and effort to improve the well-being and future of young people under 18 years old in her community.

"Independence of the Seas is part of a family of the largest and most innovative ships in the industry, enjoyed by families and young people on holiday around the world. As our commitment to the UK and Europe grows in line with demand for our cruises, and to mark the arrival of Independence of the Seas into Southampton, we wanted to create an extra-ordinary inaugural celebration to showcase our commitment to the UK market. Our search for a British Godmother who demonstrates an extraordinary passion for young people is just that," said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Intl.

All potential Godmothers must be nominated via a dedicated SearchForGodmother website. To enter, applicants must explain in 250 words or less why they, or someone they know, would be the ideal Godmother for Independence of the Seas. A special panel of judges including Royal Caribbean Intl executives, guest judges and Sir Steve Redgrave, will select the ships' Godmother. In addition to being godmother to Independence of the Seas, where she will have a formal portrait of herself displayed onboard the new ship, the woman selected will receive an honorary role in the official ship naming ceremonies, including participation in the ribbon-cutting and a VIP experience onboard Independence of the Seas' inaugural voyage. She also will receive a decade of cruising for two with Royal Caribbean Intl.

Independence of the Seas will launch in Southampton April 2008 weighing in at 160,000 GRT, with a capacity of 3,634 guests. The third in Royal Caribbean's Freedom-class of ships, and part of the family of the largest cruise ships in the world, Independence of the Seas feature some of the distinctive features the global cruise line is known for including: a FlowRider surf simulator; an ice-skating rink; an interactive H20 Zone water park for families; cantilevered whirlpools suspended 112 ft. above the ocean; a rock-climbing wall; and the Royal Promenade, an entertainment boulevard stretching across the length of the ship.

Exploration Cruising Silversea-style on Prince Albert II

Mention "Monaco" and most people probably remember American-born Princess Grace or envision a yacht-strewn harbor, the legendary Monte Carlo Casino, or well-dressed spectators sipping champagne while Grand Prix race cars whiz past. What they might not think of is its superb Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium, founded in 1910 by Prince Albert I.

Aside from being a world hub of wealth and indulgence, the Principality of Monaco has long been recognized as a leader in marine environment research. In addition to founding the museum, Prince Albert I, a pioneer in oceanographic science and exploration, first explored the Arctic's Svalbard archipelago in the early part of the last century. In an effort to add to the scientific body of work started by his ancestor, the principality's current ruler, Prince Albert II plotted a similar course during part of his 2006 journey to the North Pole. As a result, the Prince is the first incumbent head of state to have reached the northern most point on Earth.

It comes as no surprise that Silversea Cruises chose to name their latest vessel—an exploration ship—for Prince Albert II of Monaco. Known worldwide for ultra luxurious cruises, Silversea's Prince Albert II will set an adventurous course on June 12, following a naming ceremony in Monte Carlo. Launching at the same time is the introduction of a new mode in exploration cruising—where a luxurious ambiance is just as important as the eye-opening educational experiences it will provide.

Take a preview tour of the 6,072-ton Prince Albert II with

Friday, March 21, 2008

Get More Europe in 2009 Aboard Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International

Offering travelers more choices to experience multiple destinations throughout Europe, Royal Caribbean has announced the planned deployment of a record eight ships to the region for the 2009 summer and fall seasons. Itineraries ranging from four to 14 nights are available aboard Independence of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's newest Freedom-class ship; two Voyager-class ships, Navigator of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas; as well as Brilliance of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Legend of the Seas, Splendour of the Seas, and Vision of the Seas. Totaling 70 distinct itineraries and 87 ports of call in 32 countries, Royal Caribbean will offer vacationers unprecedented choices throughout the Mediterranean Sea, Northern and Western Europe and a variety of transatlantic sailings in 2009.

With its largest European deployment ever slated for 2009, Celebrity Cruises is offering guests the opportunity to chart their idea of the perfect cruise vacation. Five Celebrity Cruises ships will sail in Europe in 2009, including two ships currently under construction, Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox. Joining them are Celebrity Century, which underwent a $55-million makeover in 2006, Celebrity Constellation, built in 2002, and Celebrity Summit, which launched in 2001. The line will visit 76 ports in 29 countries, five of which are brand-new to Celebrity Cruises. Celebrity's 2009 Europe season includes six homeports, overnight stays in eight different ports, and five unique cruisetour options. Celebrity also will offer nine transatlantic sailings in 2009.

Bookings are available immediately for Celebrity Cruises' and Royal Caribbean's 2009 Europe cruises and cruisetours aboard all ships except for Vision of the Seas, which will be opened in April 2008. For more details, see's Cruise News.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Disney Cruise Line Extend Its Agreement with Port Canaveral

Disney Cruise Line announced it has finalized an agreement with Port Canaveral to extend the company’s current contract 15 years through 2022. In addition, as part of its continuing commitment to the Central Florida area, the company will home port its two new ships in Port Canaveral. The new agreement between Disney Cruise Line and Port Canaveral was ratified by Port Authority Commissioners.

As part of the new agreement, the Canaveral Port Authority will expand and modify the Disney Cruise Line port facility including an extension of the dock and enlargements and enhancements to the terminal building to allow for additional luggage and passenger capacity. A multi-level parking structure, scheduled to be completed by 2011, will also be built for Disney Cruise Line.

“We are very excited to call Port Canaveral our home and look forward to bringing our new ships here,” said Tom McAlpin, President of Disney Cruise Line. “The new enhancements being made to our terminal will provide guests an even more seamless transition from land to sea.”

Once completed, the enhancements to the already unique Disney terminal will provide for improved passenger flow and additional guest conveniences that together will contribute to the overall boarding experience. Disney Cruise Line will work with Port Canaveral to create a state of the art facility, which will contain several Disney touches that are certain to delight guests.
The terminal and dock enlargements are necessary to accommodate the new and larger Disney Cruise Line ships. Scheduled to launch in 2011 and 2012, they will be significantly larger than the existing Disney Magic and Disney Wonder.

Port Canaveral continues to be one of the world’s busiest cruise ports. More than 3.5 million Disney Cruise Line guests have sailed from Port Canaveral since the line’s beginning in 1998, adding to the economic and tourism growth of Brevard County. Future itinerary information for Disney Cruise Line ships beyond 2009 will be released at a later date.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Personalize Your Holland America Dining Experience

We hadn't intended to do it, but during a recent cruise aboard Holland America Line's Westerdam, we never ate in the dining room. To foodies—indeed to most cruise passengers—the thought is, well, unthinkable. For us, though, it made a lot of sense to have meals our way.

What we discovered was that between dinners in the Pinnacle Grill and the Lido Restaurant's evening table service, we were on our own schedule and more relaxed all week. We enjoyed our cruise even more than usual and are looking forward to sailing again when Holland America Line's As You Wish™ dining program, which affords passengers the selection of either a traditional seating and dining time or a flexible/open seating dining schedule, is in place across the fleet.

Come along for A Taste of Excellence with

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Don't Stop the Music! Celebrate the MSC Orchestra's Introduction

MSC Cruises, the world's fastest growing cruise line, invites you to join in their year-long celebration leading to the arrival of one of MSC Cruises' newest ships, MSC Orchestra, in America.

"We're excited to welcome this beautiful ship, one of the newest in our fleet, to Fort Lauderdale," says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA). "To share our excitement and introduce American and Canadian travelers to this magnificent ship, we have launched"

The new website features:
  • Win Instantly--site visitors can register and enter daily for the chance to win a free 7-night Caribbean cruise on MSC Orchestra
  • Ship information--including an extensive slide show and flash presentation complete with factoids
  • Fun & Free Stuff--including free downloadable wallpaper, e-cards, shuffle picture puzzles and memory games
  • Offers--special promotions on MSC Orchestra itineraries, including the line's "Kids Sail Free" offer (youngsters under age 17 sail free when sharing a stateroom with two full-fare-paying adults)
With more than 236,800 square feet of public areas, 5 restaurants (including the only dedicated Chinese restaurant at sea), 10 bars, a 21-foot by 12-foot outdoor LED screen, and a 16,146 square-foot spa, MSC Orchestra represents the perfect combination of grace, style, and Italian ambiance.

Following MSC Orchestra's Jan. 2, 2009 arrival in Fort Lauderdale, the ship will sail alternating 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries through April 25, 2009. A special 7-night roundtrip Bermuda sailing departs Fort Lauderdale April 25, 2009 and includes three days in King's Wharf, Bermuda and a day in Nassau, Bahamas.

The new web site will change frequently until the ship's Jan. 2, 2009 arrival in Fort Lauderdale, so you'll want to visit the site often. For more information on how you can celebrate MSC Orchestra's arrival and enter to win a free cruise, visit

Monday, March 17, 2008

Seatrade Summary, The State of the Industry

In many ways, my colleagues and I agree that Seatrade marks the beginning of the cruise year, even though it's held in March. If I were forced to describe this year's 24th annual Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention in two words or less, they would be international and ambitious.

The convention brings together cruise industry leaders, suppliers, and naturally the press. To get a full perspective about what's new and what's hot in the cruise industry, read Seatrade 2008, The State of the Industry on

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Second Annual 'Elvis Cruise' to Set Sail on Carnival Fantasy From New Orleans

Following the tremendous success of the inaugural "Elvis Cruise" last year, Carnival Cruise Lines and The Elvis Cruise, LLC, have announced the second "Elvis Cruise," a 4-day voyage aboard the Carnival Fantasy to sail in August 2008. Dedicated to the life, times and music of Elvis Presley, the inaugural sailing of The Elvis Cruise was in August 2007 from Jacksonville, FL and the Cruise Diva was on board. Our lasting memories and details about the cruise are shared on If you're an Elvis fan and missed it last year, you will want to be aboard this year!

The only authentic, Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc-licensed specialty cruise that celebrates the music and life of the legendary Elvis Presley, "The Elvis Cruise" will sail round-trip New Orleans and visit Cozumel, Mexico, departing Thursday, August 28, and returning Monday, September 1, 2008. The one-of-a-kind voyage will be hosted by Jerry Schilling, longtime friend and confidante of the late Elvis Presley, and author of the book, Me and a Guy Named Elvis. Entertainment during the cruise will include live shows from artists who performed with Elvis and have been recognized for continuing his musical legacy, including the TCB Band, the Imperials, the Dempseys, Ronnie McDowell, Terry Mike Jeffrey & Band, Andy Childs, Ruby Wilson, and others. Famed conductor Joe Guercio will serve as musical director. Best known and admired for his work with Elvis Presley, Guercio has had a prolific career. He was musical director and conductor for Elvis' concert shows from the summer of 1970 to the summer of 1977, when Elvis made his last concert appearance.

The Elvis Cruise is unique in that the nightly Vegas-style shows celebrate the various phases of Elvis' musical life and career. "And with the voyage departing from the historic Port of New Orleans, we are introducing a new show featuring the sights and sounds from Elvis' most dramatic role in his memorable film, King Creole," said Guercio. A number of themed events also will be featured, including an on-board Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, which will award $12,500 in prize money. Other activities will range from autograph and Q&A sessions with the musicians and hosts, to the Elvis Cruise T-shirt Party, Elvis-themed bingo, an afternoon at the movies with host Jerry Schilling, and more.

"Having the opportunity to participate in the only licensed Elvis cruise is particularly special and the fact that the voyage sails from New Orleans only adds to the excitement," said Ruben Rodriguez, Carnival's executive vice president of marketing and guest experience. "This cruise provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity for Elvis fans to come together and enjoy the exceptional music and memories of one of the world's most celebrated performing artists, all combined with a truly outstanding 'Fun Ship' vacation experience," he added.

The "Fun Ship" Carnival Fantasy features a diverse selection of lounges, bars and nightspots, along with a health and fitness center, Wi-Fi Internet access, cellular phone service, and three pools, one of which features the line's signature "Twister Waterslide." The 2,056-passenger vessel also has three restaurants, including two main dining rooms with extensive menus and wine lists, and a poolside eatery offering a wide variety of cuisine and 24-hour pizza and self-serve ice cream/frozen yogurt. A sushi bar and complimentary 24-hour stateroom service are also available. Reservations are currently being accepted for the upcoming "Elvis Cruise" aboard Carnival Fantasy. Fares include all "Elvis Cruise" activities. Pre- and post-cruise New Orleans land stays are also available. For additional information or to book, call The Elvis Cruise, LLC at 1-800-704-3034 or visit

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cruise Travel: It's International

News from Seatrade...

Miami Beach -- Well, actually, I'm home now. However, if there's one thing I learned at Seatrade 2008 it's the importance of international cruising. The main entrance to the convention floor is quite different than it was just eight years ago. The exhibits at the entrance then were focused on US embarkation ports and Caribbean ports of call; now they are mainly International ports. Just to the right of the main entrance was Dubai, just to the left were Sweden, China, Korea, and Taiwan.

Yesterday's highlights for me were a late-afternoon performance by Korean dancers and a reception at the Taiwan booth featuring "bubble tea"--a cool concoction of tea and tapioca.

There's a lot more to share, which I will on in the coming days. For now, it's good to be home.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

NCL Offers A Peek at Freestyle 2.0 and "F3" Ships

News from Seatrade…

Miami, March 12 -- This morning members of the media got a glimpse of Norwegian Cruise Line’s next step in the evolution of Freestyle Cruising when we arrived for a briefing and breakfast. Flutes of champagne were handed out at the door, just like the “bubbly welcome” embarking passengers will receive when they step aboard NCL’s ships, and we faced a choice of lobster selections and a chocolate fountain. Yes, that was a unique breakfast, but it served to introduce us to NCL's upgrades that will feature lobster every night in at least one restaurant and a chocolate fountain in the Action Station buffets. For the complete list of Freestyle 2.0 upgrades, see Cruise Diva’s Cruise News.

We also were given a peek at Freestyle 3.0 and the upcoming “F3” ships that NCL will launch in March and October 2010. Adding a total of 8,400 lower berths to the youngest fleet at sea, the new vessels will offer even more flexibility and further the deconstruction of a cruise vacation as we know it. “F3” ships will feature non-traditional accommodations that promise to be like nothing we’ve seen on a cruise ship before, as well as an expansion of the courtyard villa concept. While NCL’s president and CEO Colin Veitch wouldn’t elaborate on what other features the ships will have, he did tease us with what will be missing... they will be ships with NO main dining rooms, theaters, and lido cafes. We’re intrigued and can’t wait to hear more.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Holland America Line Plans a Royal Christening

News from Seatrade...

Miami, March 11 -- It was announced at Seatrade today that Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands will name Holland America Line's new 2,104-passenger Signature-class ship ms Eurodam. The ceremony will take place in Rotterdam on July 1, 2008 before a prelude cruise departs for Copenhagen the following day.

"The upcoming naming ceremony of ms Eurodam will be a very special moment in our company's proud 135-year history," said Stein Kruse, president and chief executive officer of Holland America Line.

Holland America Line has a long and proud relationship with the Dutch Royal Family--nine vessels have been launched by members of the Royal Family.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Voluntarily Revises Fuel Supplement

News from Seatrade...

MIAMI, March 10 -- After working closely with the Florida Attorney General's office, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today announced it has voluntarily agreed to eliminate its fuel supplement on any bookings made prior to the announcement of the fuel supplement on Nov 16, 2007.

Royal Caribbean will eliminate the fuel supplement for any guests who had a booking made prior to November 16. Guests booked before November 16 who paid the fuel supplement and have taken their cruise will receive a refund through the form of payment used to purchase their sailing. Guests booked before November 16 who paid the fuel supplement and have not taken their cruise will receive their refund as an onboard credit during their sailing.

As originally announced, the company did not charge the fuel supplement to guests with bookings made and paid in full before Nov 16. It will now eliminate the fuel supplement for guests with bookings made but not paid in full before that date. These latter guests were also provided with a three- week period in which to cancel their sailing without penalty.
The company has been in discussions with the Florida Attorney General's office to ensure the fuel supplement was implemented in a fair and reasonable manner.

The fuel supplement, which remains in place for North American bookings made on or after Nov 16, 2007, involves three Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. brands: Royal Caribbean Intl, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises. The fuel supplement consists of a $5 per-guest, per-day charge for sailings that depart on or after Feb 1, 2008. The fuel supplement applies only to the first and second guests in each stateroom and does not exceed $70 per person per sailing.

Today's announcement will have no impact on the company's revenue projections and the company reaffirms its previous yield guidance.

The Florida Attorney General's office is expected to issue a press release regarding this matter Tuesday morning.

How long before other cruise lines with similar fuel supplement policies follow Royal Caribbean's lead? We'll be watching closely.

Time Marches On

It's time to wish Carnival Cruise Lines a happy 36th birthday. The world's largest cruise line was born when Carnival’s first ship the Mardi Gras sailed on her maiden voyage in March 1972.

Cruise Diva is on her way to Miami Beach for the annual Seatrade convention and will be reporting in from there this week. I hope the weather warms up!

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Love Boat Sails Again

Did you first yearn to take a cruise after seeing The Love Boat on television? Then the big news for you is that THE LOVE BOAT™ Season One, Volume One set sail on DVD for the first time ever this week.

For fans, the iconic television show is like a cruise travel time capsule. Each Love Boat episode began at embarkation and was a fashion show of late-'70s style without a rollaboard in sight. Personally, I was interested in the evening wear when the passenger guest stars wore the latest in gowns and tuxedoes. I don't know when I've ever seen so many ruffles. And that was just the men! Cruise Director Julie was a woman after my own heart—the wardrobe budget for her character must have been rather slim and she wore the same gowns week after week. Just like me today. Some things are timeless.

If you're old enough to have watched the program with your friends, or young enough to have watched it with your parents, you'll want to sail back to when it never rained on the Pacific Princess, no one aboard except Charo got seasick, and love conquered all. Join CruiseDiva for a nostalgic look back at her favorite Love Boat memories and highlights from the 10-hour, three-disc set.

Released by CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment, The Love Boat™ Season One, Volume One includes the first 12 episodes from the inaugural season and is available from

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Cruise Travel: Elderly Man Put Ashore For His Own Good

You'd think by reading news accounts that big, bad Carnival Cruise Lines carelessly dumped 89-year old Jack Clevenger of Ruskin, Florida ashore for almost no reason. Okay, they did make him disembark their cruise ship on the Caribbean island of Roatan, but they had his health in mind, not cruelty.

It was during his birthday cruise that the elderly Clevenger reported to the ship's infirmary complaining of blood in his mouth and in his stool. The ship's doctor concluded he might be suffering from internal bleeding--a condition for which the medical facility onboard was not equipped. Rather than have him remain aboard and at risk of getting worse during two subequent sea days after the ship called at Roatan, the cruise ship doctor felt he would be better off seeking treatment at a facility ashore. Once in port, and without even examining Roatan's medical center for its suitability, the man and his son made arrangements to return to Florida.

Was he better off doing so or should he have been allowed to stay on the cruise ship with only a slim possibility of being evacuated quickly if his bleeding condition worsened? Clevenger apparently doesn't see his situation that way and is pretty mad about being sent elsewhere for medical treatment. He told the media, "It's a dirty, lousy trick to put us off like that." However, his life could have depended on the decision made by the ship's doctor.

Clevenger says he's feeling fine, and claims he was improving before leaving the ship, but a photo accompanying the Tampa Bay Online story shows him with an IV line and several ominous wrist tags after three days in a Bradenton, Florida hospital. We think it's a worse trick to take a cruise at age 89 without travel insurance. Clevenger might not be nearly so angry had he purchased it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cruising South America & Antarctica on Azamara Journey

Patrick and Harriette Regan wanted to see penguins and cruise through Antarctica and around Cape Horn. They did all that and more on this 6,000 mile, 18-day, Azamara Journey voyage.

Don't miss their cruise review. It's one of the best you'll ever read. That's a promise!

Photo Copyright © 2008 by Patrick & Harriette Regan

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Cruise Travel: Spring Break at Sea

Spring Break trips are a long-standing tradition in colleges across America. Even Cruise Diva escaped a frigid university campus in the 60s and headed for Daytona Beach during her youth. It's a rite of passage for most and there was a time when spring breakers were looked upon as simply fun-loving college kids out to have a good time. News stories, and even a movie Where the Boys Are, have chronicled the antics of students indulging in Spring Break rituals for decades. Unfortunately, news of sudent escapades has become increasingly outrageous in recent years. Girls Gone Wild, anyone?

While it's uncertain exactly when students discovered cruises as an alternative to beach resorts, it didn't take long to wear out their welcome. Some took the good times a bit too far and cruise lines responded by rolling up the red carpet. Not unlike car rental agencies that won't lease vehicles to "younger" drivers, cruise lines simply won't take the risk of damage to their ships, not to mention their reputations, by booking passage to underage travelers without adult supervision.

Before you consider booking a spring break cruise, there's more to think about than how you'll look in a new bikini. Take the time to investigate whether you and your companions meet the minimum age requirements set out by the cruise lines. Get the facts in For Cruise Travel, Age Matters.

Here's a thought ... you could invite your parents to sail with you. Or maybe not.
Photo Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Monday, March 3, 2008

Book A Carnival "Funtennial Celebration" Cruise

It's March and Carnival's “Funtennial Celebration” has begun. Each week this month,
one lucky guest -- who books any Carnival cruise -- will automatically be entered to win the Grand Prize of a cruise for two in the Owner’s Suite aboard either the Carnival Inspiration or Carnival Imagination. Ten second place winners will receive Fuji digital cameras to capture the wonderful memories of their cruises.

To view official contest rules, visit You don't have to book a cruise to enter, so go ahead and have some fun.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Marshals Capture Murder Suspect at Sea

When you're being sought for allegedly murdering someone with your car, who are you going to call? Apparently one Atlanta, Georgia man thought it was a good idea to call a travel agent and attempt a getaway by cruise ship.

Last Thursday, Feb 28th, U.S. Marshals and the U.S. Coast Guard nabbed Derron Williams as he attempted to flee to the Bahamas aboard Carnival Celebration. Earlier in the week, the Atlanta Police Dept. and U.S. Marshals Service began working together to hunt down Williams, who was wanted for intentionally using his vehicle as a weapon to assault a man in Atlanta on Feb 9th. The victim died and Williams was on the run.

The investigators tracked their man to to Jacksonville, Florida and that's where the fun began. Williams and a girlfriend had just embarked on Carnival Celebration, bound for Freeport, Grand Bahama. Quick work by the Marshals and the Coast Guard halted the ship about five miles offshore before it entered international waters. Williams' cruise ended about 7pm when he was taken into custody and transferred to the Coast Guard cutter.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quotes James Ergas, a Supervisory Inspector for the U.S. Marshals Service in Atlanta as saying, "We were a step behind him all day. We missed him at the Atlanta airport. We missed him at his hotel in Jacksonville. By the time we found out where he was, he was already on the cruise ship. We do not know if he was planning to return to the country. But we do know it's a lot easier to leave the country by cruise ship than airplane."

So, the first question that comes to mind is how a fugitive wanted for murder was allowed to board an airplane, let alone a cruise ship. Williams was traveling under an alias, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution report.

There's no word on whether Williams' girlfriend is enjoying her cruise.