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March 25, 2004 - Following the latest changes and developments in cruising travel trends, you'll find updates on Holland's reversion to recommended onboard tipping, NCL's ship renaming and new itineraries, pre-booking spa appointments online and celebrity lectures rosters.

Holland America Tipping Tip

The line used to boast that tipping wasn't required on its ships. No more, Holland America (800/426-0327, www.hollandamerica.com) is now going the way of its peers, by recommending passengers $10 per person per day.

NCL Does the Ship Shuffle...Again

Just when you thought you had the new ship names and redeployments down pat, Norwegian Cruise Line (800/327-7030, www.ncl.com) announces more changes. First, the five-year-old SuperStar Leo will remain in the NCL fleet after her initial Alaska season and be renamed Norwegian Spirit. The ship, originally part of parent company Star Cruises' Asia fleet, was loaned to NCL when the Pride of America launch was delayed earlier this year. The Norwegian Spirit, a sister ship to the Dawn and Star, will spend the winter doing five- and nine-night Caribbean cruises round-trip out of Miami. The innovative 9-night routes depart Friday nights and returns Sundays, so passengers need only take one week off of work. Port calls include Barbados, Grenada, St. Lucia, Antigua, and Tortola. The 5-night cruise departs Sundays and visits Grand Cayman and Honduras. Of course, when a new ship stays, there's usually one that's gotta go. In this case, say good-bye to the Norwegian Sea, which will be transferred to the Star Cruises fleet in spring of 2005 --- not a huge cause to cry, since the 16-year-old Sea is NCL's least impressive ship. In October of 2005, the Norwegian Dream will take over Norwegian Sea's year round western Caribbean cruises out of Houston. Finally, the last bit of news did not come as a surprise: the 1962-built once-great liner Norway, which has been laid up since a boiler-room accident last spring, will not be returning to the NCL fleet.

Say Goodbye to Long Lines and Hello to Online Spa Bookings

The first in the industry to offer online spa bookings, the new Caribbean Princess (800/774-6237, www.princesscruises.com) invites passengers to go to the its site and pre-reserve the massage, facial or other treatment of their choice. This method sure beats standing in line for an hour or more the first day of your cruise. Simply type in your name and booking number, and choose from more than 40 treatments offered in the ship's Lotus Spa. Available appointment times and prices will be displayed on the site as well. For full descriptions of all spa treatments, download a brochure at www.princess.com/onboard/spa.

Celebrity Lecturers Sail Aboard Oceania and Seabourn Ships

Many lines these days offer enrichment lectures, on topics as diverse as acupuncture to foreign policy. The ultra-luxury lines generally offer the most impressive line-ups of speakers, with their deluxe amenities and exotic itineraries attracting top names in entertainment, media and politics. Here's a sampling of Oceania Cruises' (800/531-5619, www.oceaniacruises.com) upcoming roster of guest speakers on its 684-passenger Insignia and Regatta:

  • Bill Press, Regatta, May 8: Bill Press is one of the three co-hosts of CNN's Crossfire, and was the chairman of the California Democratic Party.
  • Verne Lundquist, Insignia, May 17: A top sportscaster with CBS since 1982, Lundquist was a leading play-by-play announcer for NFL games, pro and college basketball, and pro golf, including The Masters.
  • Brigadier General Stanley Ulanoff, Insignia, May 31: A widely decorated military historian, General Ulanoff served with the Counterintelligence Corps during World War II. He's written countless volumes on all aspects of military history, from Colonial America to modern-day warfare. He'll sail on the Insignia's special D-Day cruise and discuss the Allied invasion of France in detail.
  • David McCullough, Insignia, July 22: Pulitzer Prize winning author and historian, David McCullough's books include The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, The Path Between the Seas, Mornings on Horseback, Brave Companions, and Truman. He's hosted and narrated numerous documentaries and television series including Smithsonian World, The American Experience, The Civil War and Napoleon.
  • Jacques Pépin, Regatta, August 24: Author of more than 20 cookbooks, Dean of the French Culinary Institute, star of 13 highly rated TV cooking shows, and chef to three French heads of state including Charles de Gaulle, Pépin is one of America's best-known chefs, food columnists, cookbook authors, and cooking teachers. He's also Executive Culinary Director for Oceania Cruises.
  • Richard Sherman, Regatta, August 24: A two-time Academy Award winning composer for Walt Disney, Sherman created some of the most memorable songs in American history including "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious", "It's A Small World", the theme song for Winnie the Pooh and many others.
  • Bill Harris, Insignia, October 24: Bill was head writer and entertainment producer for ABC's Good Morning America and Rona Barrett's segment for 3 1/2 years before moving in front of the camera himself. He's been featured on PM Magazine, Showtime Television Network, and the long-running At The Movies.

On Seabourn's (800/929-9391, www.seabourn.com) fleet of three 208-passenger luxury ships, all drinks, including free flowing Piper Heidsieck champagne, and tips are included in the rates. The ships' intimate size is conducive to passengers easily mingling with the line's impressive line-up of celebrity speakers in 2004. Here's a taste:

  • Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry, Legend, April 18: The husband-and-wife actors will make an encore appearance, this time performing A.R. Gurney's two-person, two-act play Love Letters.
  • Michelle Phillips, Legend, June 27 and July 4: Co-author of the mega-hit song "California Dreamin," Phillips sang with the popular vocal quartet the Mamas & the Papas.
  • Arnold Palmer, Pride, Nov 14: Meet this legendary pro golfer, golf course designer, and successful businessman.
  • Alex Trebek, Pride, July 18: Better brush up on your trivia, the Jeopardy host is back.
  • Star Jones, Legend, Aug 22: This TV dynamo is co-host of the popular "The View" on ABC, and is herself a lawyer and former prosecutor, with a stint covering the O.J. Simpson trial for Court TV.
  • Bernard Kalb, Spirit, Dec 19: A correspondent for CBS News, NBC News and the New York Times, Kalb also served as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.

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