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February 18, 2008

Thinking of a Cruise for Summer Vacation? Carnival Family Fun Now Includes "Circle C" Festivities for Teens

Did you know Carnival Cruise Lines expects to host 600,000 kids this year the most in the industry?

Families are particularly attracted to the line's youth-oriented programming, which was recently expanded with the introduction of Circle C, an on-board program exclusively for 12-14 year-olds. It complements Carnival's other youth programs, including Camp Carnival for younger kids and Club O2 for 15-17 year-olds. A number of ships have already been retrofitted with Circle C facilities, including the Carnival Legend, Pride, Victory and Valor. By the end of this year, the Carnival Imagination, Inspiration, Liberty, Fantasy, Paradise and Glory will be updated, with the rest of the fleet retrofitted by 2010.

To help celebrate the launch of Circle C, Carnival is offering especially attractive rates for families, just in time for the summer travel season. On select cruises, prices for the third and fourth guests in a stateroom start at $199 per person on three-day cruises and $329 per person on seven-day voyages.

The focal point of Circle C activities are custom-designed clubs, providing this age group with a place to call their own on-board. Each features a dance floor, high-tech sound and lighting, monster plasma TVs with movies and music videos, touch-screen jukeboxes with the latest music hits and video gaming centers with 20-inch plasma screens. Other Circle C program activities include basketball, volleyball and water games, as well as late-night movies and nighttime pool parties.

Soar Over Italy's Breathtaking Landscapes on a Crystal Cruise

With guests clamoring for one-of-a-kind shore experiences, Crystal Cruises is expanding its Crystal Adventures in Italy program with a number of truly unique excursion opportunities. This year, guests can skip sea travel and take to the air on a number of special helicopter adventures, enabling them to soar high over the Amalfi Coast, Mount Etna, the Dolomites and vast portions of the Italian countryside. The high-flying trips are available on 16 Mediterranean itineraries aboard the Crystal Serenity and Symphony cruise ships.

Available from Rome, Venice, Taormina and Sorrento, the sky adventures include:

Mount Etna by Helicopter

In addition to majestic views of Europe's largest volcano, guests visit picturesque Taormina, with plenty of time for exploring.

Majestic Dolomites by Helicopter

Aerial sites include Venice, Treviso, the Piave River, Longarone, Mount Civetta and Belluna, as well as lunch on land in Cortina d' Ampezzo.

Etruscan Landscapes by Helicopter

Taking off from Tarquinia, travelers fly over Lake Bracciano, Lake Vico and Rome. They also make a special visit to Civita, dating back to 3,000 B.C.

Aerial of Amalfi Coast to Capri

Flying over the Dolomitic Cliffs, Positano, Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii and Naples, guests dine at Capri's Grand Hotel Quisisana, a favorite spot of the local elite and celebrities.

New Cruise Travel Survey IDs Most Popular Destinations

A new survey of North American cruise travel trends based on actual 2007 bookings is out and the findings are revealing.

According to the data, the most popular short-itinerary trips (1-5 days) were five-day voyages to the Western Caribbean. Four-day trips to the Bahamas came in a distant second. The top mid-length cruise itinerary (6-8 days) was seven days in Alaska, followed closely by the Western Caribbean. The most popular long cruises (9 days or more) were dominated by 12-day Mediterranean voyages, with ten-day Southern Caribbean cruises coming in second.

St. Thomas remains the most popular Caribbean island and port of call. Grand Cayman came in second and St. Maarten/St. Martin jumped to the third spot ahead of Cozumel. Rome captured the top spot among Mediterranean ports, with Venice and Barcelona rounding out the top three. The most-visited European ports (non-Mediterranean) included St. Petersburg, London and Copenhagen. The top recommended Mediterranean shore excursions included private, guided tours of the Vatican; city tours of Rome; and tours of the ruins of Pompeii and Ephesus.

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