Princess Cruise Delayed by ‘Technical Difficulties’

(Update: 5:45 a.m. EDT) — A spokesperson from Princess contacted Cruise Critic with the following statement regarding Sun Princess’ reported “technical difficulties”:

“The work being done on Sun Princess, which necessitated a slight change of itinerary this cruise, is the further resolution of the technical problem that occurred in August,” the statement read.

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Bad Weather Delays Disney Cruise Ship Relaunch

(3:34 p.m. EDT) — Disney Cruise Line says high winds and heavy rain are to blame for the delay in returning Disney Magic to service after an extensive five-week makeover in Cadiz, Spain.

Weather challenges, both in dry dock in Cadiz, and at sea have made it impossible for workers to finish transforming the ship in time for a five-night sailing out of Miami on October 20, a Disney spokesperson told Cruise Critic. Instead, the ship’s return to service will begin October 25.

Work continues on the ship as it sails across the Atlantic and will be completed once it arrives in Miami.

Passengers on the canceled sailing will receive a full refund, as well as reimbursement for any airline change fees. Additionally, Disney is offering a free sailing on any five-night Bahamas or Caribbean Disney Magic cruise departing between October 25 and May 16, 2014. For passengers who can’t sail before May 16, the cruise line is offering a 35 percent discount on a future Bahamas or Caribbean cruise taken on any Disney ship within two years, excluding holiday sailings.

The overhaul of the Disney Magic included sweeping changes to restaurants, bars, the spa, atrium, cabins and kids’ spaces.

See some before and after photos of the re-imagined Disney Magic.

-by Dori Saltzman, News Editor

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Norwegian Cruise Line Announces Cruise Ship Godmothers

(10:08 a.m. EDT) — Give me a “G”! Norwegian Cruise Line has named the Miami Dolphins cheerleaders as the godmothers of its newest cruise ship, Norwegian Getaway. At the same time, the NFL football team announced Norwegian Cruise Line will be the official cruise line of the Miami Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium.

“Norwegian Getaway is Miami’s ultimate ship, so the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders are a great fit with our brand as they are excellent role models and global representatives of South Florida,” Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s president and CEO, said in a prepared statement.

As part of the partnership between the cruise line and the team, the ship’s library will house Miami Dolphins memorabilia highlighting the team’s history.

The christening ceremony will take place February 7, 2014 in Miami.

This is not the first time Norwegian has gone beyond the traditional one godmother per ship. The New York City-based Rockettes organization served as the godmothers for Norwegian Breakaway with 13 Rockettes participated in the christening ceremony.

Norwegian has slowly been revealing information on Getaway, including its South Florida inspired bars and eateries, like the Tropical Room and Flamingo Bar and Grill. Follow along on our Norwegian Getaway page.

–by Dori Saltzman, News Editor

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Cruise Line Forced to Cancel Shore Excursion Due to Bush Fires

(5:30 a.m. EDT) — Bushfires raging across Australia have so far affected one cruise ship excursion around Sydney.

Holland America Line‘s Volendam had to cancel a tour to the Blue Mountains on Sunday (Oct. 20) due to the fires, which are threatening to engulf the entire Blue Mountains region.

Alternate tours in Sydney were arranged for passengers whose excursions had been cancelled. No other Carnival Australia cruise line has been affected, a spokesperson confirmed.

He added: “Our thoughts are with those in the Blue Mountains region as they continue to battle the fires.”

Princess Cruises has two ships — Sun Princess and Sea Princess — which call in at Sydney regularly, but neither ship are affected as

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Blue Mountains tours are not offered.

A spokesperson said: “We don’t have any impact yet from the fires because the ships that are currently sailing from Sydney primarily carry local passengers, so Blue Mountains tours are not generally offered.

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Princess Unveils Sweeping Culinary Enhancements

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (April 2, 2007) – Combining best-loved favorites and traditions with contemporary culinary trends, Princess Cruises is debuting an array of epicurean initiatives which represent the line’s most sweeping changes to its highly-regarded food and beverage program.

Princess’ two new ships debuting this month – Emerald Princess and the intimate Royal Princess – will be the first vessels to feature these enhancements, which include all-new dining room fare with a modern presentation, enhanced buffet service, redesigned cuisine in the alternative restaurants, and special touches such as an afternoon “cookies and milk break” featuring fresh-from-the-oven soft-baked cookies, and in-cabin delivery of Princess’ renowned homemade pizza.

“We always strive to keep our culinary program fresh and up-to-date, reflecting both changing trends and what our passengers tell us they enjoy,” said Peter Tobler, vice president of food and beverage operations for Princess.  “Princess has a long history of signature culinary traditions, and we wanted to celebrate these while introducing a new variety of modern classical dishes and contemporary service.  The result is a significant re-design of our dining room experience that we think our passengers will love, based on the testing we’ve done.”

The most noticeable change will be the new menus and presentation in the main dining rooms. Rich in choice, the menus will present dishes that offer non-traditional combinations, sophisticated flavors, ethnic influences and skillful preparation.  Passengers will also find a wider selection of lighter fare, designated with a “Lotus Spa” insignia.  Oversized, contemporary white-on-white crockery and beautiful leather-bound menus will showcase the cuisine.

Princess’ new culinary initiatives were designed after months of collaboration among Princess’ culinary operations team including the five corporate chefs, who together bring decades of both shipboard and landside experience to their craft.  Leading the team is Princess’ master chef, Alfredo Marzi, a 35-year culinary veteran with the cruise line, who combines his passion for continental (and native Italian) cuisine with a dramatic flair.

“The exciting result of our culinary team’s effort is the introduction of over 1,350 new lunch and dinner dishes,” Marzi said.  He further explained that the line’s new menus were developed as part of Princess’ C.H.E.F. program, which was launched last year to celebrate Princess’ Culinary Heritage of Excellence in Food by fostering culinary initiatives to delight passenger palates, celebrate signature dishes and dining experiences, and introduce new products and educational opportunities for passengers and culinary staff alike.

The new epicurean experiences have also been extended outside of the main dining rooms to the alternative restaurants, the 24-hour buffet restaurant or even to passenger cabins.  “We want our passengers to know that wherever they choose to enjoy their meal or snack, that they’ll enjoy a signature Princess experience,” added Tobler.  “For example, our passengers rave about our homemade Italian-style pizza, which they can now have delivered directly to their cabins.”

The company’s culinary enhancements include:

New Dining Room Fare -The new menus have re-designed the dining room meal to give passengers the ultimate in flexibility in planning their culinary experience.  Instead of many specified courses, diners may now choose from a greater variety of starters, main plates and desserts to compose a menu to his or her liking.  The famous Princess pasta dishes will be re-emphasized, as will a larger selection of healthy Lotus Spa dishes, now available on the luncheon menu.  Those who enjoy sleeping in on lazy sea days will appreciate the “Late-Late Riser” category – breakfast favorites offered at lunchtime.

Among the culinary arts trends represented in Princess’ latest menus are Pan-Asian fusion dishes, Mediterranean and Latin American-inspired plates, specialty sandwiches and bite-sized desserts.  Taking center stage will be such global ingredients as pomegranates, figs, unique herbs and spices, aged meats, ginger, salsas, relishes, aromatic oils, vinaigrettes and exotic mushrooms.  A wider choice in breads such as whole-grain, flatbread and focaccia will also be featured, as will an emphasis on pan-seared, grilled and braised items.

Contemporary Presentation – When sitting down to enjoy the new flavors in Princess dining rooms, passengers will also notice a modern, new tableware look featuring custom-made white, oversized china  to showcase the cuisine.  In addition, the menus will be presented in rich leather covers and with a completely new layout that easily guides passengers through designing their perfect multi-course meal.

Signature Surprises – The long-time popularity of Princess’ homemade Italian-style pizza inspired the company to offer a new cabin delivery service of its renowned pies.  For a nominal $3 service charge, the pizza will arrive in a traditional pizza box with plates, napkins and cutlery.  A number of varieties will be available, including the oft-ordered cheese, pepperoni and a daily special pizza.

When Crown Princess debuted last year, Princess discovered that passengers fell in love with the warm, freshly baked cookies and the enticing aroma that wafted through the atrium every afternoon.  After serving more cookies in one day than during an entire cruise aboard the line’s other ships, Princess knew it had a winning combination – a daily afternoon “cookies and milk break,” featuring straight-from-the-oven soft-baked cookies, with a different flavor featured each day.

Alternative Restaurant Offerings – Princess’ popular Sabatini’s Italian trattoria, introduced nearly a decade ago, has undergone a modernization as the traditional fare is presented with the same number of tantalizing courses, but with a lighter twist in keeping with the tasting menu concept.  As well, the line’s steakhouse restaurant has been re-defined to incorporate the new steak and seafood menus which have proved so popular after debuting aboard Crown Princess.

Enhanced Buffet Service – When passengers visit the buffet restaurant, they will find an experience that is more in keeping with a dining room than a 24-hour eatery.  Tables will be pre-set with cutlery and napkins meaning these items will not have to be collected while selecting meals and snacks.  Servers will be standing by to provide beverage service to each table, whether passengers order self-service selections or bar items.

Princess’ new culinary initiatives will gradually roll out to the rest of the Princess fleet this year and next.

Emerald Princess debuts April 11 for an inaugural schedule of Greek Isles and Mediterranean voyages.  A week later on April 19, Royal Princess joins the fleet to offer a collection of Connoisseur Mediterranean and Holy Land voyages.  On May 12 the two ships will meet for a historic dual christening ceremony in Santorini, Greece, set in the port’s dramatic crater-formed harbor.

Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Award 15 Marine Conservation Grants Totaling $796,000


MIAMI, April 2, 2007.The Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises Ocean Fund awarded $796,000 on March 30 in 15 new grants to marine conservation and environmental organizations, including a $100,000 grant to The Conservation Fund for its Alaska land preservation program and a $100,000 grant to Conservation International for its campaign to conserve Caribbean biodiversity.

Almost $9 million has been awarded to 64 non-profit organizations working to protect the marine environment since the fund’s inception in 1996. The mission of the Ocean Fund is to support efforts to restore and maintain a healthy marine environment, minimize the impact of human activity on this environment, and promote awareness of ocean and coastal issues and respect for marine life.

There are so many fascinating and vital marine conservation efforts under way by our grant applicants,said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. We applaud our 2007 Ocean Fund grant recipients for their efforts in research, education and developing innovative technologies that help preserve the world’s oceans.

The complete list of 2007 Ocean Fund grant recipients is as follows:

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Alaska Culture Takes Center Stage on Princess Ships this Summer

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (April 3, 2007) – As passengers relax under cozy woolen blankets, glaciers tower before them, crackling occasionally as a piece breaks off in a dramatic “calving.” Later, sharp-eyed guests train their binoculars to where their onboard naturalist has spotted a whale.  Soon Princess chefs offer up a deckside buffet to complement the scenery with a bounty of local Alaskan flavors, while later local park rangers regale their audience with an entertaining presentation full of insights about “The Great Land.”

Alaska offers passengers a thoroughly unique experience in which they can be close to natural wonders and enjoy adventurous activities on shore. But on a Princess ship this summer, travelers can also continue to immerse themselves in the wonders of Alaska even when they return onboard, thanks to a special onboard experience designed to complement the itinerary. Special guests and programs fill the day’s program, helping passengers appreciate the richness around them whether they’re captivated by local wildlife and scenery, or want to get a closer feel for Alaska Native culture or the favorite local sport of dog mushing. And through it all, the flavors of “The Great Land” come alive as passengers enjoy Princess’ Signature Alaskan Cuisine featuring such delicacies as salmon, king crab, venison or even reindeer chili.

“It’s very important to us at Princess that we really give passengers a true feel for the rich culture and natural wonders of Alaska,” said Rai Caluori,Princess executive vice president of fleet operations. “When our guests join us for a cruise of the 49th state, they’ll know they’re some place special, and will be able to savor many of the region’s delights right onboard.”

Starting this May, Princess’ specially designed program will offer its passengers a variety of ways to experience Alaska onboard their ship, including:

Meet a Musher – Libby Riddles, the 1985 Iditarod sled dog race champion and first woman ever to win the famous Anchorage to Nome trek, has become a Princess favorite, enthralling passengers with exploits from her days as a musher. In her exclusive appearances for Princess, Riddles joins each of the line’s Alaska ships during its call in Juneau. Taking passengers behind the scenes into the world of dog mushing, she shares her Iditarod experiences while describing what it’s like to live in a native Inupiat village near Nome. Riddles’ approximately hour-long presentations are held aboard the ship in the afternoon, followed by an opportunity for passengers to ask questions, get autographed copies of her books or pose with her for photos.

Alaska Naturalists – On each Alaska sailing, passengers have the benefit of the expert guidance of their own dedicated onboard naturalist throughout their cruise. These veteran guides include biologists, writers, adventurers, professors and Alaska Natives, among others, who give informative presentations about local wildlife, glaciers, oceanography, marine life, native Alaskan cultures, history and many other local topics of interest.  Naturalists often provide colorful bridge commentary as well and help with spotting wildlife.

“North to Alaska” in Skagway – Local historian and performer Steve Hites presents a colorful tribute to the Klondike days during the ship’s call in Skagway. This entertaining “North to Alaska” show offers passengers the opportunity to learn more about Alaska’s gold rush era through an entertaining mix of song, poetry and folklore.

Park Ranger Programs in Glacier Bay – Park rangers present a variety of programs for passengers of all ages while ships sail among the dramatic ice fields of Glacier Bay National Park.  National Park Service rangers join the ship for the day, offering a live commentary from ship’s bridge throughout the visit to Glacier Bay, pointing out the natural wonders and wildlife sightings.  Rangers also give an informative shipboard presentation with videos of Glacier Bay’s environment. They also meet with passengers at a dedicated booth, offering reference books and other information to further inform interested visitors about Glacier Bay’s natural and cultural history.

Glacier Bay Junior Ranger/Teen Explorer – Princess ships also offer special Glacier Bay activities for the ships’ younger passengers.  The enriching Junior Ranger and Teen Explorer program is designed to bring Glacier Bay and the Alaska wilderness to life for the thousands of children who cruise each summer. This joint effort between Princess and the National Parks Service is designed to encourage young cruisers to explore Glacier Bay’s natural and cultural history through fun interactive projects. Children ages 3-12 and teens ages 13-17 can participate in special programs customized for their age group and take home specially developed activity books. Kids who participate in a certain number of events and activities can earn Junior Ranger status, which is commemorated with an official badge and certificate.

Forest Service Presentations in Ketchikan – Passengers have the opportunity to learn more about the nation’s largest National Forest – Tongass National Forest – with a special onboard presentation by rangers from the U.S. Forest Service. A naturalist station will be set up throughout the afternoon each ship is in Ketchikan, and passengers are invited to special presentations for adults and children as the naturalists share information about Southeast Alaska and this important national treasure.

Signature Alaskan Cuisine – The enticing flavors of Alaska feature in menus and events throughout Princess’ Alaska fleet.  Each season chefs create a bounty of flavorful dishes that reflect the state’s culinary delights, featuring fresh fish, savory meats and an assortment of seafood specialties. Passengers will find ample opportunity to sample these treats, with a number of special culinary events throughout the cruise.  In the dining rooms, one evening will culminate with a special Chef’s Alaskan Dinner featuring fresh and smoked salmon, fresh halibut, loin of venison and king crab. On another day, cruisers will return from port to find a festive poolside fish barbeque serving up such specialties as grilled prawns, halibut brochettes, crab cakes and venison chili.  And while ships sail among the stunning scenery of Glacier Bay, a lavish mid-day buffet fuels passengers with choices such as hot and cold smoked and chaud-froid salmon, crab salad, and grilled fish, plus ice carvings and other special dcor. Passenger also might discover a reindeer chili or rockfish chowder cook-off. To top off any meal, diners can wash down their Alaskan feasts with local beers or an Alaskan Hot Toddy.

Glacier Bay Balcony Breakfast – For a more private repast among the scenic ice floes of Glacier Bay, Princess offers guests the opportunity to order a special Glacier Bay champagne breakfast to be served right on their stateroom balcony. This indulgent morning option features fresh pastries, forest berries, Copper River salmon and Alaskan crab quiche to further enhance their cruise through this natural wonder.

Gold Rush Marketplace – For passengers seeking the perfect memento of their Alaskan adventure, Princess ships offer a one-time special event each cruise – the Gold Rush Market Place. This unique shopping opportunity offers a comprehensive collection of exclusive Alaskan merchandise representing the 49th state’s many cultures and resources, with items such as gold nuggets and quartz, cozy totem blankets, hand crafted figurines depicting Alaska’s natural wildlife, authentic Russian souvenirs from Sitka, Native Alaskan dolls, and totems all manufactured by local Alaskan artisans.  Exclusive Alaska apparel represents the rich history and culture of Alaska with designs only available on Princess ships.

Exclusive Cruise Companion Book/Map and Video – A Princess exclusive, the “Alaska Cruise Companion” book and map set was created especially for the line by author and long-time Alaskan Joe Upton.  The insightful guide lets passengers follow along on their cruise as the detailed map and information-packed guidebook are organized to fit Princess itineraries. Loaded with facts and colorful stories about each port and coastal features along the way, the set is a favorite with Alaska passengers each year. An accompanying video, also produced by Upton, is shown throughout the cruise in shipboard cabins, following the cruise route with beautiful photography and entertaining narration.

Princess will feature its largest ever Alaska fleet in 2007, with eight ships sailing through the scenic waters of the “Great Land.” Passengers can choose from 139 total departures aboard a diverse lineup of vessels that range from 670 passengers to 2,670 passengers.  For the first time, the line offers mid-week departures of its popular Gulf of Alaska cruises aboard Pacific Princess.  In addition, Golden Princess will make her Alaska debut, adding a new choice and expanding capacity to Princess’ popular Inside Passage program. Passengers have more opportunities than ever to visit Glacier Bay in 2007 as Princess ships will sail into the national park a record 78 times, carrying more passengers to this spectacle of ice than any other cruise line.

Additional information about Princess Cruises Alaska programs is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting

Port of Los Angeles’ Cruise Business Numbers

SAN PEDRO, Calif., April 5, 2007.An economic impact study focused on cruise operations at the Port of Los Angeles shows significant benefits to the Harbor district and greater Los Angeles areas with respect to business revenue, job creation, wages and tax revenue. In 2006, the 226 ship calls by the three home-ported cruise lines at the Port generated $253.7 million in economic benefits to the Harbor and greater Los Angeles region an average of $1.1 million per ship call.   An additional 39 cruise ships called at the Port in 2006 which were not a part of the study.

According to the study, economic benefit to the Harbor area (San Pedro, Wilmington and Harbor City) equaled $108 million, averaging $478,000 per ship call. Economic benefits to the greater Los Angeles and surrounding counties equaled $146 million in 2006, an average of $622,000 per ship call.

This report confirms that the harbor communities and Los Angeles at large benefit in a wide variety of ways from cruise operations at the Port of Los Angeles,said Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D., executive director at the Port of Los Angeles. Cruise travel is a strong and growing segment of tourism an industry that recognizes Los Angeles as a world-renowned vacation destination. We have the opportunity to grow this business in the years ahead while reducing cruise ship pollution with technologies such as Alternative Maritime Power, which enables ships to plug into clean electric power while at berth.

Revenue is generated by ship operations, as well as crew members and passenger spending. While at dock, cruise ships utilize a variety of local goods and services, supporting jobs and generating revenue for these businesses as well as tax revenue. The types of businesses benefiting from the cruise business include local hotels, food and beverage providers, florists, parking lot operators, linen and laundry services, maintenance and repair companies, travel agencies, garbage disposal services, fuel providers and a variety of ship-servicing companies. Hotel stays for cruise passengers averaged 875 rooms per ship call, for a total of 197,700 rooms in 2006.

In addition, the crew aboard the larger ships can number more than one thousand people, all of whom spend an average of $107 per Port visit, almost half of which was spent in the Harbor area. Average spending by cruise passengers is $75 per person, more than 35 percent of which is spent locally.

In terms of employment, approximately 1,277 jobs in the Harbor area are generated by cruise operations at the Port, as well as an additional 1,202 jobs in the region. Related wages equaled $52.5 million in the Harbor area alone, and $36.6 million for the balance of the five-county Southern California region.

State and local tax revenue generated by cruise ships in 2006 equaled $9.7 million, $5.7 million of which was generated in the Harbor area.

The economic impact analysis on the cruise business at the Port of Los Angeles was conducted by Martin Associates, a widely-recognized expert in the evaluation of economic impacts created by maritime activity. Only the cruise business at the Port of Los Angeles was studied in this report. Cruise operations at the neighboring Port of Long Beach were not factored into the study.

Celebrating its Centennial in 2007, the Port of Los Angeles is America’s premier port. As the leading seaport in the nation in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates 259,000 regional jobs and $8.4 billion in annual wages and tax revenues. A proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles, the Port is self-supporting and does not receive taxpayer dollars. At the Port of Los Angeles, high priority is placed on responsible and sustainable growth initiatives, combined with high security, environmental stewardship and community outreach.  For its industry leading environmental initiatives, the Port received two Environmental Protection Agency awards in 2006. The Port of Los Angeles,A cleaner port. A brighter future.

Costa Sets a New Record

Genoa ,April 2, 2007.A new record for Costa Crociere, the number one cruise company in Europe and South America: for the first time the Company has three new buildings under construction in Italy all at once. The record was set today with the cutting of the first plate for a new 92,700-tonner at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Marghera (Venice). The occasion was also marked by the announcement of the name of the new liner, which will be called the Costa Luminosa. The other two Costa ships taking shape in Italy both in Genoa Sestri Ponente are the Costa Serena (112,000 gross tonnage and total Guest capacity of 3780), which is in the final stages of fitting-out and will be delivered on May 15, 2007, and a sister ship due for completion in spring 2009.

The Costa Luminosa will be 92,700 gross tonnage and 292 meters in length, and have accommodation for 2260 passengers in dual occupancy cabins. Her entry into service is scheduled for spring 2009.

With the arrival of the Costa Luminosa,commented Costa Crociere’s Chairman & CEO Pier Luigi Foschi, and the other ships now in the building yard, not only will we have Europe’s largest fleet, but it will consist of a varied range of liners in terms of size, features and style. This way we will be able to further diversify our offer and continue to propose new destinations every year. The Costa Luminosa and her sister ship will be the results of a brand new design concept, whereby rather than size, we have concentrated on combining the best aspects of our product, such as wellness, exclusive itineraries, art and top quality cuisine, which are especially popular with more and more of our Guests.

The Costa Luminosa will have 772 cabins with private verandas out of a total of 1130 cabins, making her the Costa fleet member with the highest percentage of veranda cabins (68%) and particularly suited to cruises with spectacular itineraries and picturesque scenery. Cruisers on the Costa Luminosa will find the pick of the most recent innovations introduced on Costa’s ships: the Samsara Spa, one of the largest wellness centers ever built on a cruise ship, a central pool area extending over two decks fitted with a sliding glass roof and a giant movie screen, plus a Grand Prix driving simulator. She will also feature several exclusive innovations, introduced here for the first time on the Costa fleet, including a golf simulator. The interiors, devised by the ingenious architect Joe Farcus, will be designed to offer maximum comfort and state-of-the-art facilities, and Guests will be able to walk round all the passenger decks from bow to stern.

Costa’s expansion program, extending what is already Europe’s largest and most advanced fleet (12 ships counting the Costa Serena, with total Guest capacity of over 23,000, all flying the Italian flag), goes beyond the three new buildings currently under construction. A sister ship of the Costa Luminosa is also planned, with delivery from the Marghera yard scheduled for March 2010.

In all, Costa Crociere has invested a total of 3.5 billion euros in Italy for the construction of 7 new ships, all commissioned from Fincantieri, within the framework of its upgrading program worth 4.5 billion euros and entailing the addition of 11 new vessels between 2000 and 2010.

By 2010, when the last of the four new orders is completed, the Costa Crociere fleet will be 15 strong and have total Guest capacity of over 30,000, further consolidating its place as the largest and most advanced fleet in Europe.

Norfolk to open $36 million cruise facility

NORFOLK, Va. April 2, 2007 Norfolk’s crescent-shaped marina, initially used as a fort to protect the growing maritime industry during the mid-1700s, is now the site of the city’s newest attraction. The Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center, a $36 million, 80,000-square-foot cruise facility will open April 7 and welcome its first passenger ship April 28. The center will offer East Coast travelers the convenience and accessibility one would expect from a state-of-the-art cruise ship terminal. With sailings from Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International, the Half Moone, built by the City of Norfolk , will aid vacationers, particularly in the mid-Atlantic region, in traveling to exotic locations such as the Bahamas , Bermuda, the Caribbean and Canada, without having to fly or drive to an inconvenient ship terminal location.

While catering to those within a reasonable driving distance, Norfolk’s Half Moone will also provide an estimated 60 percent of passengers, who come from as far away as Florida and Texas , with an embarking location for their cruise destination. Others are expected to come from cities in nearby mid-Atlantic states, such as Richmond, Va., located 90 miles from Norfolk; Washington D.C., which is less than 200 miles away; or Baltimore, Md. and Philadelphia, Pa., both located about 250 miles away. As a result of this growth, Norfolk has equipped the Half Moone with passenger-friendly amenities and designs to make travelers feel at ease and stress-free, including state-of-the-art embarkation (check-in) stations and a separate VIP check-in area.

The Half Moone will also serve as a premier venue for special events offering more than 23,000 square feet of interior event space, including a 13,500-square-foot Half Moone Vista, which will display facts about the original fort and a 1,100-square-foot Bermuda Room equipped with the latest audio/visual capabilities and displaying artifacts and objects that tell the story of the historic connection between Virginia and Bermuda. Outside, the Half Moone will feature a 3,400-square-foot Promenade Deck overlooking the Elizabeth River and a 9,600-square-foot Lido Deck with panoramic views of downtown Norfolk .

The Half Moone is also expected to increase the drive-to cruise appeal of residents in the Midwest , where this kind of accessibility and convenience has not been available to cruise-seeking vacationers before. With an easy-access port from which to disembark, Norfolka’s Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center is designed to eliminate the stress of in-between travel, which includes flying or driving long distances in order to access an available harbor.

The following is an itinerary of sailings, slated to disembark from Norfolk’s new terminal in 2007:

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