Paul Gauguin to stay with RSSC through 2004


he Tahiti-based Paul Gauguin is staying with the Radisson Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) fleet for another few years.

Radisson Seven Seas CEO Mark Conroy said the ship has been sold by Service and Transports, its French owners, to a Swiss financial institution. But Conroy said the line will continue to operate the vessel through 2004 with the understanding that RSSC can negotiate to extend the contract through 2008.

Conroy had just returned from a sailing of the Paul Gauguin when Travel Weekly caught up with him.

"I hadn't been on it for five years," he said. "It was better than the last time."

• • •

Royal Caribbean International is getting out there with its "Get Out There" city tour.

The tour, aimed at "land-locked travelers," features a truck that morphs into a 40-foot-high model of the Navigator of the Seas. A rock-climbing wall will be brought in for the curious to climb.

The truck (and the Royal Caribbean sales tour) will visit more than 60 U.S. cities by the end of 2004.

• • •

Meanwhile, giant concrete "reef balls" that resemble 3-foot-high Wiffle balls that be put to use to restore the coral reef off of CocoCay, Royal Caribbean's private Bahamian island.

The reef balls will be placed in two locations that will assist in coral regrowth -- those in shallower water will be incorporated into snorkeling tours.

Royal Caribbean said "time and tropical weather conditions" contributed to the deterioration of the reef.

• • •

The Regal Empress, formerly of Regal Cruises, now is part of Imperial Majesty Cruise Line.

The 1,190-passenger Regal Empress replaced the older, 1,021-passenger OceanBreeze on its two-day cruises to Nassau, Bahamas, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The future of the OceanBreeze has not been determined.

Imperial Majesty purchased the Empress for $1.75 million at auction in May. The ship formerly sailed from New York and Port Manatee, Fla.

• • •

Olympic gold-medal-winning figure skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier will christen Princess Cruises' Island Princess at a ceremony in Vancouver.

The Canadian skating team will host Vancouver's first naming ceremony, which will be held July 11 before the Island Princess begins its maiden season in Alaska.

• • •

After a year-and-a-half out of service, the Silver Wind returned with a multimillion-dollar face-lift.

Silversea Cruises highlighted the new, alternative Saletta restaurant, the addition of a Le Champagne wine and cigar room and a Tranquility Room near the spa, where guests can go to relax.

In addition, the ship's soft goods -- drapes, artwork, sofas, chairs, bedding and carpeting -- got a major overhaul.

The Silver Wind will operate in the Mediterranean and Baltic regions before heading to the Caribbean and South America this fall.

• • •

Star Cruises' SuperStar Leo and SuperStar Virgo will return to their home ports of Hong Kong and Singapore, respectively, this month.

The two ships were pulled from port in April and deployed in Australia after SARS broke out in the Asian cities.

Star said festivities are being planned to celebrate the Virgo's return to Singapore on July 20 and the Leo's return to Hong Kong on July 31.


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