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June 25, 2007

More First-Time Cruisers Taking the Luxury Route to Sea

Think about jumping right into an ultra luxury cruise. According to industry reports, a growing number of cruisers are passing up the mass and premium market ships and taking cruises aboard Silversea, Seabourn and other small-ship luxury vessels. They are typically couples that prefer staying in boutique hotels and small resorts while on land. Instead of being price conscious about a cruise (remember CruiseCompete will assist you in finding the best deal), the biggest concern is finding the time to go on the trip.

Design for Seabourn's New Cruise Ship Unveiled

Seabourn recently announced its design plans for its new yet-to-be-named flagship, the first addition to the ultra luxury cruise industry in six years. The $250 million vessel is scheduled to enter service in mid-2009. It will carry 450 passengers and feature more dining options, suite types, verandas, entertainment venues and spa and recreational activities than any other ship in the Seabourn fleet.

Guests can choose from 13 categories of suites, including 225 ocean-view suites ranging from 277 to 1,300 square feet, with 90 percent of them featuring private verandas up to 344 square feet. The ship will feature 22 penthouses with verandas, five Owners Suites and four, two-bedroom Grand Suites.

In addition, Seabourn cruisers will enjoy cuisine from a choice of four venues: The Restaurant, the ship's gourmet, open-seating dining room; Veranda Cafe, a stylish, yet casual restaurant serving regional specialties; Restaurant 2, an elegant and more intimate specialty restaurant; and the Patio Grill, where guests can enjoy pizza and grilled items poolside.

The newest addition to the fleet also will include six open bars to satisfy a myriad of moods and entertainment styles. These include the Grand Salon, the main showroom and home to Seabourn's dance band; The Club, with both indoor and outdoor seating and featuring a pianist, duo or trio performing a variety of musical genres throughout the evening; Sky Bar, the popular mainstay of SeaBourn ships overlooking the ship's central Poolside Patio outdoor living space; and the Patio Bar, open during the evening and featuring live, alfresco entertainment.

Other facilities and amenities planned include SeaBourn Square, located in the heart of the ship and featuring pursers and tour desks, Internet library and duty-free retail shops. The Marina is an icon of the fleet, providing a fold-down staging area at sea for guests to enjoy complimentary water sports, including waterskiing from the ship's own speed boat, banana boat rides, paddleboats and kayaks. Guests who enjoy pampering with like the Spa at Seabourn, with a thallasso whirlpool as its focal point and his and hers Finnish saunas, aromatic steam rooms, separate gym and aerobics areas and two exclusive outdoor spa decks. The ship also features two swimming pools and seven whirlpools.

Princess Expands Canada and New England Cruising

The Caribbean Princess will travel due north in 2008 as part of the cruise line's most extensive cruise season ever in the Canada/New England region, with 50 percent more additional capacity than before. A total of 18 voyages aboard three ships are scheduled between August 24 and October 29, providing more opportunities for guests to experience the dramatic fall foliage, quaint towns and rich history of the area. Itinerary choices include a new 11-day Connoisseur sailing on the Royal Princess between Montreal and New York; classic 10-day cruises on the Sea Princess between Quebec City and New York; and seven-day roundtrip voyages from New York on the Caribbean Princess. The Royal Princess also offers a 17-day Colonial America sailing. Travelers on the Connoisseur route will enjoy a cruise up the Saguenay River. All of the cruises feature stops at Nova Scotia's capital of Halifax, Saint John and New Brunswick, as well as Bar Harbor, Maine's Acadia National Park and Boston.

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