Carnival's Freed celebrates 25 years with line

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icki Freed, Carnival Cruise Lines' senior vice president of sales and marketing, celebrated her 25th year with the line last month.

Freed celebrated her silver anniversary with a party and a Fun Ship-shaped cake. She also received a diamond-and-ruby anniversary pin from Carnival CEO Bob Dickinson.

Freed joined Carnival in 1978 as the Southern California regional sales manager. She was named to her current position, where she is responsible for all sales and marketing activities, 10 years ago.

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Silversea Cruises is turning 10 years old next year, and the line is using the opportunity to take itself back to "ancient, classical styles."

OK, that really only refers to the way the cruise line's sommelier pours the wine at the dinner table.

"Shall we pour wine from the bottle? Or from the carafe?" mused Barbara Muckermann, Silversea's new vice president of worldwide marketing and communications. "Which is the right way?"

The line is looking at ways to give itself a proper European flair when it comes to service issues -- as well as to cater to the more casual lifestyle that pervades the market these days.

Casual options include informal poolside dinners and "lighter" menus, executives said.

Meanwhile, the Vintages champagne room will be turned into an intimate formal dining room seating 32 people (where, most likely, the wine will be poured from the bottle).

The line also slated 10 special cruises to mark its anniversary year, including an invitation-only kickoff cruise April 4 on the Silver Cloud. CEO Albert Peter will be the host.

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Oceania Cruises is taking travel agent bookings on its Web site, www.oceaniacruises.com, through a private-label version of Revelex's cruise-booking engine.

Revelex said real-time pricing and availability is queried through Oceania Cruises' reservations system to produce a detailed cruise invoice and itinerary.

Jeff Drew, Oceania's vice president of sales, called it a "major investment."

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Princess Cruises added a shore excursion on its new sailing to Antarctica this winter, which takes guests to one of the "oldest and most important" research stations on the continent.

The 12-hour Antarctica Landing Expedition takes passengers via plane from Punta Arenas, Chile, to the Villa Las Estrellas research station. Guests will tour the research center, view the area's wildlife reserves and glaciers and, weather permitting, hike along the "beach" to Ardley Island.

The expedition is offered on the Royal Princess' Dec. 19 Antarctica cruise, and again on Cape Horn and Strait of Magellan cruises in January and February.

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Celebrity Cruises introduced a program called Celebrity Science Journeys, which pairs up children with science and nature projects.

The hands-on programs range from 30 minutes to an hour and are appropriate for children ages 3 to 12.

Topics include Earthworks, which focuses on biomes, pollination and the solar system; Environmentation Station, which explores natural phenomena and "man-made" disasters; and Get Buggy, which offers encounters with insects and arachnids and traces the process of metamorphosis.

The seminars will be offered daily on every Celebrity ship beginning Nov. 27.

The line also debuted its first Acupuncture-at-Sea cruises, which includes lectures about acupuncture, feng shui, nutrition and, of course, the treatments themselves.

The treatments are offered through a Miami-based company called OM Alliance, which offers acupuncture service to celebrities and athletes.

The line offered three acupuncture-themed cruises on the Infinity in September and October; a Celebrity spokeswoman said the line "definitely" would offer more of them.

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Crystal Cruises cut rates by more than half on four of its spring Asia sailings aboard the Crystal Harmony and added a reduced business-class air upgrade for bookings made by Dec. 1.

The luxury line said it reduced minimum fares by 57% and balcony cabin fares by 52% on three of the four itineraries: a 14-day Singapore to Hong Kong cruise on April 9; a 12-day Hong Kong to Beijing voyage on April 23; and an 11-day cruise from Beijing to Tokyo on May 5.

The fourth cruise, a transpacific crossing between Tokyo and San Francisco on May 16, offers 50% off cruise fares.

Two New Zealand and Australia cruises in March and April also have reduced rates, Crystal said.

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Radisson Seven Seas, meanwhile, is giving up to 50% discounts on 15 seven- to 19-day itineraries in November and December in the Caribbean, Panama Canal, South America and South Pacific regions.

"In celebration of the season of giving," clients on certain sailings are eligible for two-for-one savings or up to 50% off on second-guest fares, the line said.

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First European Cruises is ushering in 2004 with discounts of up to 50% on several Mediterranean cruises in January.

The 1,200-passenger Mistral sails roundtrip from Genoa, Italy, on 10-night voyages to Greece, Egypt, Italy and France; per-person rates start at $999.

The 1,500-passenger European Stars sails to Spain and Morocco on 10-day voyages. Reduced rates start at $950.

On Jan. 6, the European Stars will offer a 10-day roundtrip cruise from Genoa to Almeria, Lanzarote and Malaga, Spain; Madeira, Portugal; Agadir and Casablanca, Morocco; and Marseilles, France. Reduced rates start at $950.

To contact reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].

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