Thursday, August 12, 2004

JUST GIVE 'EM THAT OLD-TIME ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: Banking on notions that nothing soothes souls and fills cabins better than rock ‘n’ roll, Carnival touts a Rock ‘N’ Roll Holiday combining live performances by three pantheons of rock -- Journey, REO Speedwagon and Styx -- with typical razzmatazz of a Fun Ship cruise. Carnival Triumph’s week-long fling from Miami's Port of Miami departs Nov. 27 and returns Dec. 4, 2004, calling at Cozumel, George Town and Ocho Rios. Rock ‘N’ Roll packages include: Private concerts, Q&As with band members, R‘N’R cocktail parties and limited edition memorabilia. Rounding it out are formal and casual meals, roomy cabins, lounges and bars galore, a 15,000-square-foot health club, casino, duty-free shopping, four swim pools and a 214-foot water slide. Journey, REO Speedwagon and Styx have sold more than 100 million records, packing stadiums and arenas around the world. Now, they unite to define floating rock fantasy, with fares from $1,299 per person, double and special rates for triples and quads. For details, call the Rock ‘n’ Roll Holiday Escape hotline at (866) 236-6696.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

LANDLOCKED LORE: Holland America has anted up to sponsor a new exhibit celebrating its Dutch heritage and global achievements, permanently housed at the recently revamped Maritiem Museum Rotterdam. The Netherlands’ exhibit tells all about how Holland America Line (HAL) was founded in 1873 as the Nederlandsch-Amerikaansche stoomvaart Maatschappij (Dutch American Steamship Company). For more than a century, Rotterdam was homeport for HAL, now headquartered in Seattle and owned by Miami-based Carnival Corporation. The exhibition divides into four periods, from the beginnings to the 1901-1945 Emigration Boom with waves of emigrants sailing from Europe to America, the 1946-1978 Good Times / Bad Times era with HAL’s departure from Rotterdam to the U.S., and 1979 to the present, with HAL posting records as a fast-growing premium cruise leader. Last year in Rotterdam, the city and HAL jointly hailed the line’s 130th anniversary when naming the Vista-class Oosterdam with HRH Princess Margriet. The ship was bow-to-bow with the line’s flagship Rotterdam. HAL’s 13 premium ships offer nearly 500 sailings from 15 North American homeports including new departures from Norfolk, Baltimore and Boston.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

QUENCHING REPO THIRST: With itineraries often combining leisurely days at sea and lesser-known ports, a long -- make that very long -- list of fall repositionings provides escape from life's hum-drum. Two Carnival ships embark on 15-day Panama Canal crossings for opposite American coasts. Paradise leaves Miami's Port of Miami Sept. 5, repositioning to Long Beach, calling at Aruba, Puntarenas, Acapulco, Mazatlan and Los Cabos. Ecstasy departs Long Beach on Sept. 17 en route to Miami's Port of Miami, calling in Acapulco, Puntarenas, Aruba and Ocho Rios. Celebrity's quintet of repositionings range from 9 to 14 nights. Galaxy’s Sept. 3 transatlantic from Rome calls in Nice and Monte Carlo, Malaga, Gibraltar, Lisbon and Ponta Delgada, before docking in Baltimore. Another sails from Dover to New York, while three cruises out of Vancouver head for Honolulu, San Francisco, or San Diego. Costa sails two 17-night transatlantics from Genoa to Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades, with departure dates of Nov. 4 for CostaAtlantica and Dec. 7 for CostaMediterranea. Both ships feature a stop in St. Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, several days at sea and other ports. Crystal mixes R&R with readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic aboard Crystal Harmony, moving from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades on Oct. 8., calling in San Diego, Los Cabos, Puntarenas, Aruba and St. Thomas with seminars on mutual fund analysis, retirement planning, Tai Chi, yoga, heart health, alternative medicine and CPR. Holland America’s Zaandam, Oosterdam, Veendam and Volendam sail the Panama Canal from Vancouver, Seattle, California and Mexico, heading to various Florida ports. Rotterdam, Prinsendam and Westerdam sail transatlantics of 11 to 17 days. MSC's new MSC Opera, departs Genoa on Nov. 15 on a 17-night inaugural transatlantic, and calls in Barcelona, Casablanca, Funchal, Barbados, Antigua, Tortola, St. Maarten and Nassau before docking in Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades for a Caribbean season. NCL's 15-day Panama Canal transit on Norwegian Sun departs Oct. 1 from Los Angeles for Miami's Port of Miami with seven days at sea, calling at Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Zihuatanejo and Acapulco, Puntarenas and Oranjestad. Norwegian Dream's 15-day transatlantic to Miami's Port of Miami departs Sept. 22 from Dover, calling in France, Spain and Portugal. Oceania's two 10-day transatlantics from Lisbon reflect the “Golden Age of Cruising.” Insignia departs for Barbados on Nov. 13, with a day at sea followed by a call in Madeira, six full days at sea and a call in St. Lucia. Regatta departs for Miami's Port of Miami on Nov. 3, with nine days at sea. Princess sails four Panama Canal crossings, including a 15-day journey on Coral Princess departing Sept. 28 from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades, while Dawn Princess's 15-day sailing departs Sept. 19 from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades. Grand Princess leaves Copenhagen for New York starting Aug. 27, and Star Princess departs Venice on Oct. 7 for a 17-day voyage to Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades. Radisson Seven SeasSeven Seas Voyager departs Barcelona for Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades on Nov. 1 with a Spotlight on Big Bands. Seven Seas Mariner, sailing from Tokyo to Los Angeles on Oct. 18, features Spotlight on Movies, with screenings, conversations with Hollywood insiders and menus inspired by classics like Babette’s Feast. Royal Caribbean’s 14 fall repositionings include an 11-night voyage aboard Radiance of the Seas, departing Vancouver Sept. 25 and calling in Hilo and Kailua Kona, Kauai, Maui and Honolulu. A 10-night transatlantic aboard Jewel of the Seas sails from England to Boston, calling at Le Havre, Plymouth, Cork and Portland, Maine. Silversea's Silver Cloud’s Echoes of Ancient Civilizations repositioning departs Port Said on Oct. 23, cruising the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea, with calls in Sharm El Sheikh and Safaga, Aqaba and Muscat. Silver Wind’s In the Wake of Columbus departs Barcelona Oct. 20 en route to Barbados, with calls in Cadiz, Casablanca and the Canary and Cape Verde islands. Seabourn touts a 13-day Great American Food & Wine Festival cruise from New York to Nassau, departing Oct. 17, with chef demos by Charlie Palmer of Aureole in New York and Las Vegas, and Robbin Haas of Miami’s Chispa.

Monday, August 09, 2004

NOT READY TO KICK THE BUCKET: Today’s retirees are more fit, more adventurous and have more time to kill than predecessors, and in quests for good times, this mature segment has discovered the hot commodity of cruising. By 2007, the Census Bureau projects the number of Americans age 55 and older will grow six times faster than the rest of the population, all of which has cruise marketers licking their chops. Since this new retiree breed does more than sit around in rocking chairs comparing notes on ailments, cruise lines are developing new products tailored to more sophisticated, mature tastes -- whether for exploring Alaska by helicopter or checking out landmarks of ancient Rome. Cruise value-pricing also rings bells with retirees. Comparing costs of seven-day cruises to less-inclusive seven-day land options, retirees likely will find the cruise less expensive, says Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA, representing 19 cruise lines with nearly 150 ships and 16,000 travel agencies. Extras on typical vacations -– Broadway-style entertainment, meals, snacks, transportation, enrichment classes and other activities -– are generally included in cruise costs. Lines also offer healthy dining options and fitness programs tailored to individual abilities. Retirees with “to do” lists for their sunset decades can choose among more than 1,800 ports of call worldwide, providing plenty of exploration thrills.