Thursday, May 06, 2004

STAR-LIT FLICKS: Everyone loves the movies, but how to catch ’em while floating in a pool or sipping cocktails under a blue-velvet sky? Princess Cruises’ “Movies Under Stars” poolside theater on Caribbean Princess has created such splash, the line is ramping up on other Grand Class ships, Grand Princess, Golden Princess and Star Princess. The million-dollar screens – 300 square feet with 69,000 watt sound – have what it takes to be seen at mid-day and heard while moving at top speed. Caribbean Princess’ huge Times Square-style LED (Light Emitting Diode) screen shows assorted entertainment throughout the day, from first-run hits to can’t miss sports events. Adding to the cachet are complimentary chaise lounge reservations, special movie theme cocktails, and casual dining options.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

TASTES OF EUROPE: Starting in May, three Royal Caribbean ships sail to 16 European countries for the summer, showcasing the continent's grandest sights and greatest culinary delights. Radiance-class ships are Brilliance of the Seas and the line's newest, Jewel of the Seas. Brilliance sails 12-night Mediterranean/Venice and 12-night Mediterranean/Greek Isles cruises from Barcelona. Jewel sails 12-night Scandinavia/Russia and 12-night British Isles/Norwegian Fjords cruises from Harwich, England. Splendour of the Seas sails seven-night Mediterranean itineraries from Barcelona. With luxurious day spas, Broadway-style shows, extensive workout facilities, rock-climbing walls, and spectacular dining venues, all three ships balance relaxation, entertainment, and outstanding cuisine. The line’s Europe itineraries start at $819 per person, double occupancy for seven-nights, and $1,899 for 12-nights.

LABADEE ON HOLD: Continuing unrest in Haiti prompted Royal Caribbean International to indefinitely suspend port calls at Labadee, RCI's private beachfront area on Haiti's northern coast of Hispaniola. Revamped itineraries include substitute port calls for Navigator of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, and Mariner of the Seas. Alternative calls through mid-May include Nassau or Coco Cay, Bahamas.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

CELEBRITY VROOM-VROOM: Hairpin turns and 100 mph straight-a-ways are standard with Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Xpeditions newest lure: The Celebrity Racing Academy, paired with lodging along the Palm Beaches at the PGA Resort and Spa. Developed with racing champ Justin Bell, Celebrity Xpeditions Racing Academy includes a stretch at Moroso Motorsports Park, with two hours at the wheel of a Formula One Dodge capable of doing "0 to 60 mph" in 4.5 seconds. Guests also get a "hot lap" with champions Justin Bell or Derek Bell in a Dodge Viper. Justin was 2001 TransAm Rookie of the Year and winner of the LeMans 24-hour race and World GT2 Championship. Derek, a Fox Sports and ESPN commentator, is a five-time Le Mans winner. The post-cruise experience follows select Caribbean sailings on Celebrity's Millennium, Century and Summit. Racing packages start at $1,000 per couple.

Monday, May 03, 2004

MORE FUN IN ALASKA: Carnival Cruise Lines has beefed up Alaska shore options for 2004, adding a dozen tours from rock climbing and dog sledding to gold-panning followed by a salmon bake. That's on top of alpine lake snorkeling, biking, city walks and more. Overall, Carnival offers more than 100 tour options with Carnival Spirit's seven-day Glacier Bay and Glacier Route cruises, sailing northbound from Vancouver or southbound from Whittier/Anchorage. For its 2004 Alaska season (May 12 - Sept. 15, 2004), Carnival Spirit sails 16 seven-day Glacier Route and three Glacier Bay voyages. The Glacier Route features Prince William Sound, College Fjord, Lynn Canal, Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Sitka and the Inside Passage. Glacier Bay sailings, round-trip from Vancouver, have full days cruising Glacier Bay National Park and the Inside Passage, with calls in Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan.