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April 27, 2009

Inaugural Cruises are extremely popular, Maiden voyage of Cunard's Queen Elizabeth sold out in 29 minutes
It only took 29 minutes for the October 2010 maiden voyage of the new ocean liner Queen Elizabeth to sell out, easily making it the fastest selling voyage in Cunard's 170-year history. More than half of the much-anticipated ship's remaining maiden season, comprising a total of six sailings, was sold in less than two hours. Cunard representatives strongly suggest cruisers interested in enjoying the impressive vessel during its first season at sea should book their cruises fast to secure a place in history.

Caribbean Princess remodel complete
More than 1,500 workers joined forces to remodel Princess Cruises' 3,080-passenger Caribbean Princess, which has returned to duty. It now features many of the same amenities and attractions found on the line's newer ships. This includes a piazza-style atrium with a street-cafe atmosphere, an International Cafe, a wine-seafood-cheese bar, an adults-only Sanctuary space, a more centrally located casino and sports court, a new boutique, new Internet cafe and library, a flat-screen television in each cabin and a new Crown Grill steak and seafood restaurant. There also is an expanded children's program, with plenty of new arts and crafts, plus other activities.

Carnival expands flexible dining across cruise fleet
Exceptional feedback from guests has prompted Carnival to expand its flexible dining option across its entire fleet by next summer. People booking a cruise on a Carnival ship that has the program in place will have the choice of traditional dining or "Your Time" dining in the main dining room between 5:45 9:30 p.m. Dining assignments will be made on a first come, first served basis. Guests will be able to request any table size or waiter. If there is a wait, a pager will be provided so guests can grab a cocktail or mingle in the area until their table is ready. The implementation is being staggered so that modifications can be made to each ship's table configurations. The goal is to offer more tables that seat fewer guests, much like traditional shore-based restaurants.

Disney Wonder will cruise from Los Angeles in 2011
Cruises to the Mexican Riviera are hot these days, prompting many cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean and Carnival, to position some of their newest ships in Southern California for year-round sailings. The current expansion of the Disney Cruise Line also includes plans to reposition the Disney Wonder in Los Angeles for Mexico itineraries starting in 2011. The Wonder's mainstay has been cruises to the Bahamas, so this will definitely be a change of scenery. West Coast itineraries have not been finalized yet, put planning is well underway. Guests will surely combine a voyage on the Disney Wonder with a visit to Disneyland in southern California, much like travelers in Florida have done for years, combining a Disney cruise with a visit to Disney World in Orlando.

Holland America Line to debut 14-day Alaska Adventurer cruises next year
Holland America is introducing new 14-day Alaskan Adventurer cruises on its flagship ms Amsterdam in 2010. The ship will sail roundtrip from Seattle, with three new port stops in Anchorage, Homer and Kodiak, and provide cruisers with a unique Alaska experience not available on other cruise lines. The ten new two-week sailings, which start May 17 of next year through Sept. 6, replace 20 seven-day sailings between Vancouver and Seward, Alaska. The new itinerary includes the scenic Inside Passage, cruising Tracy Arm fjord next to its twin Sawyer Glaciers. Guests also will see Alaska's mighty Hubbard Glacier, the largest glacier in North America. In addition to the stops listed above, other historic ports include Ketchikan, Skagway, Sitka, Juneau and Victoria, British Columbia.

Seabourn launches its first new ship in 20 years
Seabourn's first new ship in two decades, the 450-passenger Seabourn Odyssey, is scheduled to set sail this summer. Its first season will include departures from Venice, Istanbul, and Athens before repositioning to Fort Lauderdale late in the year. The Odyssey will embark on a world cruise in January, visiting 24 ports between Fort Lauderdale and Athens on a 108-day voyage. The ship will feature all suites, with 90 percent having balconies. Each cabin will have separate living and bedroom areas. There will be four restaurants and six bars and lounges, along with a two-deck spa.

In other Seabourn news, the cruise line just introduced its 2010-2011 schedules, with several additional ports and itineraries. For the first time, Seabourn will operate a complete year-round schedule in Asia. Indonesia, China, Korea, Japan, Bali and additional islands are on the list. There also will be a full array of Mediterranean and Caribbean itineraries. In addition, there will be a 110-day world cruise from Los Angeles to London via the South Pacific, India, and Arabia.

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