Friday, July 09, 2004

THEMES OF HEROISM: In convergence of name and theme, Carnival Cruise Lines’ new Carnival Valor explores heroes and heroism, real and imagined, as well as heroic eras and feats, heavy on Americana. The red, white and blue lighted lobby dome’s bas-relief panels depict 10 U.S. destinations — including Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, New Orleans and the Grand Canyon. One Small Step Dance Club celebrates Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon, with a multicolored volcano effect. Lindy Hop Piano Bar honors aviator Charles Lindberg, first to solo across the Atlantic, with a model of his Spirit of St. Louis. Scarlett’s supper club has a mural of GWTW’s heroine dancing with Rhett Butler. In a tribute to women manning factories during WWII, Rosie’s restaurant hails “Rosie the Riveter.” Formal dining rooms honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, with candle-like lighting from dark-wood chandeliers. Restaurant annexes are named for U.S. Navy officer John Paul Jones and Betsy Ross, seamstress of the continental flag. Bronx Sports Bar celebrates Yankee stadium with bunting, and tabletops embedded with pieces of a number-four uniform, like that of Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig. The Caboose game room / teen club celebrates Casey Jones of American literary lore with an electric train running around the bar. Heroes from elsewhere in Ivanhoe Show Lounge recall Sir Walter Scott’s tale, with knights in armor backed by medieval-style tapestry. Artwork in Winston’s, a cigar bar named after the British Prime Minister, reflects Churchill’s maritime interests. Shogun Club casino’s murals and suits of samurai armor simulate a medieval palace in Kyoto. Paris Hot Jazz Club, a French-style cabaret, pays homage to chanteuse Josephine Baker, the expatriate American battling racial bias in the U.S. Iliad Library transports guests to Homer’s Ilium, with murals themed from Greek vases. Jeanne’s Wine Bar recalls Joan of Arc, and the Togo Sushi Bar is named after the Japanese admiral. On Dec. 19, seven-day sailings start from the Port of Miami, alternating eastern and western Caribbean routes.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

BEYOND BASIC TRAPEZE: Circue du Soleil goes to sea for Celebrity Cruises, starting in December to further redefine premium cruising onboard entertainment. Observation lounges on at least two Millennium-class ships will become The Bar at the Edge of the Earth, described as a surreal place that “invites guests, for two hours every evening, to cross the mirror to another universe." Even Cirque regulars are likely to find The Bar extraordinary, with exotic food, drink and characters greeting cruise guests as old friends. The “Wave Correspondent" will deliver precious bottles containing mystical messages from the sea, while the “Lantern Tuner" -– determined to light dark places or harmonize with existing lighting -- transforms the atmosphere. There’s more: A Cirque du Soleil Masquerade Ball and world-class performance will unfold on every cruise, and Cirque du Soleil boutiques are in the works. Constellation will be first to feature the Cirque-created experience on seven-night Southern Caribbean round-trip sailings from San Juan starting Dec. 4. Summit follows in early 2005.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

HAWAIIAN EYE: In conjunction with Pride of Aloha’s inaugural festivities, Norwegian Cruise Line opened a customer service center in Honolulu’s newly spiffed up Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa for the cruise line's Hawaii customers. The line’s center has a full-time concierge catering exclusively to cruise guests, providing pre-cruise check-in, booking for land / shore excursions, dining reservations, upgrade request processing and onboard amenity arrangements.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

FUN, FUN, FUN BURNING MIDNIGHT OIL: Known for penetrating quotes, Bob Dickinson, CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines has co-authored The Complete 21st Century Travel & Hospitality Marketing Textbook with Florida International University’s Andy Vladimir. The 627-pager also has articles by 64 other travel industry honchos, including Jack Williams, president of Royal Caribbean International Cruise Lines, Randy Garfield, president of Disney Resorts, and Simon Cooper, president of Ritz-Carlton Hotels. Published by Prentice Hall, the paperback primer ($35 list, $23.80 on appears in bookstores in mid-July. Some public television viewers may recall Dickinson as the guy in a pink bar-waiter uniform a season or so ago. He was the first U.S. executive featured in the PBS series Back to the Floor. The show, a hot commodity in the United Kingdom, gives upper echelon bosses a taste of life below. Dickinson spent five days on his line’s 2,056-passenger Fantasy, working as a purser, dining steward, social host and bar waiter. Guest interaction was fun, he said, but some jobs were tricky -- like taking drink orders and then locating guests 15 minutes later. "That was a challenge," he said. "Out in the sun one hairy guy is the same as another."