Port calls: Crystal promotes luxury 'rewards' in TV spots

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ravel agents are seeing Crystal Cruises in a new place: on television.

Crystal is running a series of 30- and 60-second TV commercials, which it said was "a first" for the line. The commercials depict acts of kindness and heroism in previous centuries that have resulted in one's experiencing the ultimate luxurious reward today -- a vacation with Crystal.

The spots conclude with the tagline, "You must have done something good in a past life to deserve luxury like this."

Ads ran in key markets -- Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco -- during this month's Wave season and the start of National Cruise Vacation Month in February.

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Windstar Cruises extended its "Winter Sail Away" promotion through Feb. 14; agents with deposited bookings from Jan. 1 through Feb. 14 will be entered to win the grand prize of a "Sail Away to Europe" Mediterranean cruise for two aboard the Wind Surf.

Windstar is holding daily and weekly drawings, as well. Each week, Windstar is giving away a flat-screen TV similar to the ones in its refurbished cabins.

December's grand-prize winner of the "Sail Away to Tahiti" cruise for two aboard the Wind Star was Michael Ginsburg, owner of Michael's Travel Center in Agoura Hills, Calif. Ginsburg's name was picked in a random drawing from more than 400 entries.

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Windstar isn't the only line with a giveaway program this month. Norwegian Cruise Line is handing out prizes to agents who book with the line during its "Wave of Prizes" promotion.

NCL said it will award daily prizes based on the cruise markets sold; goodies range from a cabin on board the Pride of America's July 4 cruise to bottles of champagne and beach towels.

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Viking River Cruises added two departures to its Eastern European Odyssey, a 14-day voyage along the Danube River from Budapest, Hungary, to the Black Sea and returning to Vienna.

The Aug. 21 sailing will operate from Vienna to Budapest, while the Sept. 4 cruise will sail the reverse itinerary.

The cruises will operate on the line's 150-passenger Viking Danube; per-person rates start at $3,059.

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Princess Cruises inked a deal with Air Tahiti Nui to provide the line's airlift between Los Angeles and Papeete, Tahiti, where passengers embark the line's Tahitian islands cruises.

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Seabourn is touting its complimentary Exclusively Seabourn shore excursions, which are offered on each of its sailings.

The program itself isn't a new one, but many of the shore excursions are new for 2004.

For example, this year passengers can opt to make their own chocolates in a Belgian chocolate maker's workshop in Bruges. And in Leith, Scotland, passengers are treated to an evening visit to the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Look for new excursion offerings in Amsterdam; Casablanca, Morocco; Funchal, Portugal; Korcula, Croatia; Halq al-Wadi, Tunisia; Portovenere, Italy; Saint-Tropez, France; and Valencia, Spain.

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Cruise West extended its early-booking savings deadline to March 31 and said it is "guaranteeing" the lowest prices of the season for those taking advantage of the program.

The line said travelers can still save up to $800 per couple when booked and deposited by Feb. 27 (paying in full by the same deadline adds another $200 in savings) or as much as $400 per couple when booking by March 31.

For more information, call (800) 888-9378.

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

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