Monday, March 20, 2006

At last: Carnival Heads to Greece & Turkey ...

FREEDOM FARE A 'FUN SHIP' FIRST: Starting March, 2007, Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Freedom sails an inaugural schedule encompassing 12-day cruises marking the line's first-ever calls in the Greek Isles and Turkey, plus calls at magnificent Mediterranean ports. Freedom's inaugural season kicks off March 14, 2007, with seven 12-day Med & Greek Isles cruises and a dozen 12-day "Grand Mediterranean" voyages through Oct. 16, 2007. All sail round-trip from Civitavecchia (Rome). Bob Dickinson, president and CEO, says these new cruises "represent the continuing evolution of the 'Fun Ship' vacation experience. " The 12-day Med & Greek Isles cruises include eight ports: Naples; Rhodes; Izmir (Ephesus) and Istanbul, y featuring scenic cruising of the Dardanelles; Athens and Katakolon; and Livorno, and an overnight call for Rome. Departures are March 14 and 26, April 7 and 19, June 18, Aug. 5, and Sept. 22, 2007. Landside experiences include the Acropolis and the Temple of Poseidon in Greece, plus ancient cities of Olympia, Priere, Didyma and Miletus. Overnighting in Civitavecchia, guests can book shore excursions to Rome, while during the extended call in Istanbul, they can visit the fabled Blue Mosque and Topkapi Museum. On departure from Istanbul, Carnival Freedom sails the spectacular Sea of Dardanelles, connecting the Aegan with the Sea of Marmora. The "Grand Mediterranean" cruises visit seven ports: Naples; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Venice (two-day call); Messina; Barcelona; Cannes; and Livorno. The 12 voyages depart May 1, 13 and 25, June 6 and 30, July 12 and 24, Aug. 17 and 28, Sept. 10, Oct. 4 and 16. On these voyages, shore excursion include Capri, Taormina, Monte Carlo, Florence and Pisa, home to celebrated landmarks. Particularly noteworthy is the two-day call in Venice. Freedom signature "Fun Ship" amenities: 22 lounges and bars, spa, jogging track, Internet café, and four swim pools - one with a 214-foot slide. A nine-deck glass-covered atrium provides access to twin bi-level restaurants, a 1,400-seat poolside eatery with a 24-hour pizzeria, and a supper club serving prime steaks. Georges Blanc Signature Selections are created by the French master chef. Freedom also includes a golf program, conference center, duty-free shopping, and "Camp Carnival" and "Club 02" programs for children and teens. Of 1,487 staterooms, 60 percent have ocean views, and 60 percent of those have balconies. Fares for Carnival's new 12-day Med & Greek Isles cruises start at $999 and the 12-day Grand Med voyages start at $1,449, per person double occupancy. Air supplements, with rates for third and fourth guests in staterooms are available. Carnival accepts booking, starting March 27, 2006. For details, call 1-800-CARNIVAL.

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