Travel Weeklys Cruise E-letter: March 28, 2006

AN INVESTIGATION CONTINUED this week into the fire on the Star Princess. One passenger died following cardiac arrest and several others suffered smoke inhalation injuries; 100 cabins were damaged before the blaze was extinguished. The U.K.s Marine Accident Investigation Branch said March 27 that it is leading a team of investigators that includes members of the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Transportation Safety Board and the FBI. The fire broke out around 3 a.m. on March 23 as the ship was sailing to Jamaica from Grand Cayman.

PRINCESS on March 27 cancelled the April 2 voyage of the ship; the March 26 cruise had already been cancelled. Passengers will receive a full refund and a future cruise credit.

TWELVE PASSENGERS from Celebrity Cruises Millennium were killed after their tour bus plunged 300 feet down a mountain in Chile after swerving to avoid a truck. The passengers were part of a 64-person Bnai Brith group onboard the Millennium, which is en route to Fort Lauderdale from Santiago, Chile, on a 14-day sailing. Celebrity President Dan Hanrahan said last week that the line was devastated and would do whatever we can to help find all the answers. The tour bus was independently operated and not affiliated with the cruise line, Celebrity said.

EUROPEAN MARKET EXPANSION: Disney Cruise Lines said the Disney Magic will sail a series of Mediterranean itineraries during summer 2007. The line will offer 10- and 11-day cruises from Barcelona, Spain. Carnival Cruise Lines, meanwhile, will make its first foray into the Greek Islands and Turkey, sailing 12-day itineraries on the Carnival Freedom starting in March 2007.

CORRECTION: Crystal has three new cruises departing from New York this autumn, not three ships. The line will offer a total of five sailings from New York to Canada and New England on the Crystal Symphony. Incorrect information appeared in the March 21 edition of the Cruise E-letter.

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