Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Give Me Liberty, Or Give Me ...

FORT LAUDERDALE SNAGS LIBERTY FULL-TIME: Well, there's no point in going to extremes, but odes to Patrick Henry aside, Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Liberty will depart year-round from Port Everglades on six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises, starting in November. Chalk it up as another Carnival first, and the only program of its kind from Fort Lauderdale. Now in Europe, Carnival Liberty launches year-round service from the Venice of America on Nov. 19, following a 16-day transatlantic. For year-round adventure, six-day cruises depart Sundays for Freeport, George Town, and Costa Maya, while eight-day voyages depart Saturdays to the eastern and western Caribbean. The ship's previous six- and eight-day cruises from Fort Lauderdale have been a huge success, says Carnival's Bob Dickinson, president and CEO. Both eight-day cruises offer ports usually available only on longer durations. Plus, Saturday departures and Sunday returns fit one week vacations. Carnival Liberty's slew of amenities include a health club, four swimming pools – one with a 214-foot-long water slide – as well as 22 lounges and bars, and a three-deck theater. Dining includes a poolside eatery and a reservations-only supper club, with all venues featuring “Georges Blanc Signature Selections” by the French master chef. Fares start at $459 per person for six days, $629 per person for eight days, double. For details, call 1-800-CARNIVAL.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Seabourn Bookings Far Out ...

LUXURY DEMAND HEATS UP: Ultra luxury small ship specialist Seabourn is booking now for its three yacht-like, all-suite ships through first quarter of 2008. The 15-month schedule includes125 cruises aboard Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend, calling at more than 225 ports in 64 countries between January 2007 and April 2008. Schedules and fares for the first quarter 2007 were published a year ago, and already are selling steadily, according to Deborah L. Natansohn, Seabourn president. "Because our ships carry just 208 guests each, and because they have been sailing at very near full capacity for the last couple of years, our loyal repeat guests are booking further in advance," said Natansohn, "Especially if they want to book back-to-back combinations in their favorite suites."New for 2007 are "Sail & Stay" packages combining cruises with pre/post-cruise extensions in destinations such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Istanbul and Athens. In 2007, Seabourn Spirit returns to China after extended absence, with a 9-day round trip from Hong Kong with three days in Shanghai. Seabourn Legend cruises north from Costa Rica to L.A, on a pair of 10-day voyages. Seabourn Pride repeats her South America circuit, a 72-day odyssey available in seven- to 18-day segments. The Med provides intriguing ports for Seabourn Spirit and Legend, and in 2007 notable additions or revisits include the Dalmatian coast of the Adriatic, including Split and Zadar in Croatia and Kotor Fjord in Montenegro. Monopoli, in Italy's Puglia region, and the Aeolian island ofLipari are new in 2007, as are Tarragona in Spain and Belle-Ile-en-Mer off Brittany. Ports along Turkey's Turquoise Coast include Fethiye and Alanya, with a return to Marmaris. Early bookings deliver Seabourn yachting life from $1,595 per person, double. For details, call Seabourn at 800-929-9391 .