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Articles from 2006 In April


Silversea taps Cronkite, Buckley

Silversea taps Cronkite, Buckley

newsman Walter Cronkite and influential political commentator William F. Buckley, Jr., to join a cast of celebrity lecturers for the line's 2007 world cruise.

Other big names booked for the 126-day voyage on Silver Shadow include ABC News correspondent Lynn Sherr, author Richard Reeves, investigative journalist Judith Miller, film critic Rex Reed, champion yachtsman John Bertrand, Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, photojournalist Steve McCurry and Michael Green, wine and spirits consultant for Gourmet magazine.

Cronkite will speak during Silver Shadow's April 27 segment from Alexandria to Lisbon, and Buckley is scheduled for the May 8 segment from Lisbon to New York City.

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PSA dinner in full swing on board Freedom

PSA dinner in full swing on board Freedom

A record 600 members and their guests attended the function which started with cocktails and a stroll down the Royal Promenade, the ship's central avenue lined with boutiques, restaurants and bars. Positioned on a bridge high above the busy street, members of the Rat Pack cast including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr and Dean Martin look-alikes, sang songs from the hit West End show.

Referring to the success of the UK ocean cruise market having broken the 1 million passenger barrier and still growing, RCI president Adam Goldstein paid tribute to the leading role the UK has in European cruising: 'Many people in the room have worked hard in making it happen.'

PSA president-elect Cunard's Carol Marlow spoke of the unabated growth in the UK market which rose 21.5% between 2004-06 and will likely record 1.25m passengers by the end of this year.

Before dinner Marlow presented Mauro Terrevazzi with this year's John Lancaster Smith award for his career in the Vlasov Group spanning four decades during which time he played a major role in founding Sitmar, Silversea and Radisson (now Regent) Seven Sea Cruises. V. Ships' Roberto Giorgi and Silversea's Aris Zarpanely referred to Terrevazzi as 'the pillar of our lives'.

The late Lancaster Smith was founder of Ocean Travel Development, the forerunner of the PSA, and the annual award was introduced last year in his honour and given to someone who has made a major contribution to passenger shipping.

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HAL reprises Great Land Golf Classic

HAL reprises Great Land Golf Classic

26.

Awards include a Caribbean cruise for two to the overall low gross scorer (without handicap) and the low net scorer (with handicap).

The 27-hole Great Land Golf Classic offers three courses on one tour. Participants get a three- or four-night Inside Passage cruise plus Denali, Dawson City, Whitehorse, a 102-mile Yukon River cruise between Eagle and Dawson City and a scenic train ride to Denali on the McKinley Explorer.

Golf courses played are Top of the World in Dawson City, the northernmost golf course in North America; Mountain Lakes Golf Course in Whitehorse; and Black Diamond in Denali.

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Miami port director is stepping down

Miami port director is stepping down

A replacement has not been named.

Towsley joined the port in 1997, following the retirement of director Carmen Lunetta. He oversaw the expansion of cruise facilities and coped with rising security costs. Towsley came to Miami from the Tampa Port Authority.

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Costa Allegra is ready for China

Costa Allegra is ready for China

The destination is Hong Kong, followed by two other sold-out voyages - marketed to Europeans - between China and India.

Starting July 3, Costa Allegra will begin its new program of five-day cruises from Shanghai for Chinese vacationers.

The ship's 40-day refurbishment aimed to create an ambience and amenities appealing to Chinese customers, but with a European style. The newly designed interiors were inspired by the Italian neo-classic period.

The most ambitious work was the new wellness center, created by installing a 30-ton aluminum superstructure that houses a gym, eight treatment rooms, two locker rooms, two saunas and a relaxation area. The spa will be co-managed with Steiner.

The shopping area was increased by 50%, with shops that will be managed by DFS, a leading operator in Asia, owner of the Starboard brand and an existing Costa partner. The main focus of the area is 'Made in Italy' products and craftsmanship.

Other work included the conversion of the theater into a lounge with a dance floor and seating capacity of more than 250. The four new restaurants include Piazzetta Allegra, a pay-to-eat sushi and sashimi bar seating 110 with a karaoke area, and Almalfi, an Italian pay-to-eat a la carte restaurant with that seats 76 indoors and 52 outside, with a dance floor.

The Montemartre Verandah Restaurant is an a la carte, pay-to-eat venue with an Italo-Asian menu and seating capacity for 134, while the adjacent Montmartre Restaurant offers free dining with open seating for 310 and an international menu.

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US officials endorse fire-safety actions

US officials endorse fire-safety actions

Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board voiced their support for the fire-safety precautions being taken with balconies and other external areas of cruise ships.

The actions spring from preliminary findings by the UK's Marine Accident Investigation Branch, the lead agency investigating last month's Star Princess fire. The USCG and the NTSB are participating in the inquiry.

'We are pleased to see these urgent safety recommendations issued so early in this investigation,' said NTSB acting chairman Mark Rosenker. 'Compliance with the safety recommendations will contribute to cruise line safety worldwide.'

Both the USCG and the NTSB also acknowledged the International Council of Cruise Lines' safety alert to its members. The recommendations of the UK authorities and ICCL 'will improve the already extremely high level of fire protection safety afforded to cruise ship passengers and crew,' the USCG said in a statement.

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Harwich welcomes back Travelscope

Harwich welcomes back Travelscope

The UK tour operator has used Port of Tilbury as its home base for Van Gogh for the last two years but the ship will now sail from Harwich to the Baltics, Norwegian fjords and North Cape as well as a traditional Christmas markets cruise, of which there are three planned from the east of England port for the coming season.

'Tilbury was unable to find a suitable berth for us,' says Richard Ford, md for Travelscope. Seatrade Insider was unable to reach Port of Tilbury executives today for a comment.

In total, Travelscope will operate 19 cruises from Harwich in 2006 with Van Gogh making its first sailing from the port in two years tomorrow, plus the maiden voyage for Athena.

The Gloucestershire-based firm, which specialises in 'reader holiday offers' found in the local and national press, says 2006 is 'shaping up well' having doubled its cruise capacity this year. In all, Travelscope will cruise from 11 British base ports in 2006 using three chartered ships: Van Gogh, Funchal and Athena. Last year it carried 180,000 passengers on cruises to Europe, Med, Baltic, Norway and the Caribbean.

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Royal Caribbean declares dividend

Royal Caribbean declares dividend

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. declared a quarterly dividend of 15 cents per share, payable on June 30 to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 9.

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Sea Diamond completes whirlwind refit

Sea Diamond completes whirlwind refit


The former Birka Princess underwent a major refit in what Louis senior general manager George Michaelides describes as 'record time'. Delivered to her new owners on March 17, she has since had an extra deck complete with an outdoor pool added, at Aker Finnyards. Originally built to operate in the Baltic, she already has an indoor pool.


LCL now owns 12 vessels, eight of which it operates itself with four on charter: three to Thomson (of which it provides technical and hotel management) and one to Transocean Tours. The UK tour operator's recent decision to charter a fourth Louis vessel, Calypso, for summer seasons beginning 2007 (see earlier story) means that LCL will have to find a replacement vessel if it is to repeat this summer's programme of ex-UK cruises that Calypso will operate out of Port of Tilbury, London.

Itineraries to Norway/Iceland and the Iberian peninsula are 'extremely well booked', says Michaelides, 'and at present we've no plans as to what will happen next year. First of all we have to make sure that this summer's operations out of Tilbury are a success'.

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Royal Celebrity Tours gains board member

Royal Celebrity Tours gains board member

Timothy Cerny, president of Fountainhead Development, has worked in Alaska tourism for 20 years and owns three hotels with a total of 704 rooms.

Cerny joins board members Craig Milan, president of Royal Celebrity Tours; Adam Goldstein, president of Royal Caribbean International; Lisa Bauer, svp North American sales for RCI; Tom Tougas, Seward-based owner and operator of numerous Alaska travel and tourism businesses; and John Litten, owner of Sitka Tours.

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