Travel Weeklys Cruise E-letter: Sept. 28, 2004

THE PAUL GAUGUIN will sail under the Radisson Seven Seas Cruises brand through 2005, but after that its in the hands of new management -- and it will leave French Polynesia, where the ship has made its home for the past seven years. The vessel was sold to Boston-based direct sellers Grand Circle Corp. and Deluxe World Travel, which will jointly manage and sell the ship on cruises through locales such as South America, the Mediterranean and Europe and Antarctica.

CARNIVAL CORP. entered into an unprecedented shipbuilding deal with Italian company Fincantieri and will build four vessels and modify an existing order. Fincantieris shipyards in Italy will build the vessels, for delivery in 2007 and 2008. One ship will go to Carnival Cruise Lines and another to Princess Cruises, but Carnival has not yet decided which brands will get the other two ships. Carnival also will alter the design of Cunard Lines previously announced Queen Victoria by lengthening the ship and increasing its capacity to 2,000.

FINCANTIERI granted Carnival preferential building slots for future ships. Carnival also said it would continue to work with Fincantieri on previously-disclosed plans for a larger cruise ship, code-named the Pinnacle Project.

NEW FEATURES WILL BE ADDED to the Enchantment of the Seas when it is lengthened next spring. Two soaring, suspension-style walkways will run lengthwise above the pool deck along Deck 10. The pool area will be bigger and longer, and it will include a new kids splash pool that at night will convert to a funky fountain that shoots colored streams of water. Bungee trampolining will be available on Deck 9 forward. Various areas of the ship will get updates and refurbishments. And since the stretched ship will be just a tad too long to fit into a Panama Canal lock, a special hinge on the front of the ships bow will allow the tip of the ship to flip up when needed. The project will be completed during a 30-day drydock period at the Keppel Verolme yard in Rotterdam, the Netherlands next May, when the ship will be cut in half and a new midsection inserted.

HURRICANE JEANNES TIMING again forced cruise lines to delay bringing ships back into home ports. The Carnival Triumph, the Century, the Navigator of the Seas, the Caribbean Princess and the Zuiderdam stayed at sea an extra day or two before returning to their south Florida ports to disembark passengers and take on new guests. Ships on the western side of the state were affected, too. Carnivals Sensation was to arrive and depart from Tampa on Tuesday, a day late.


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