Port calls: Theme cruises, celebrities on deck

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orwegian Coastal Voyage scheduled 15 departures this spring and summer of air-inclusive NCV Escorted Vacations.

Cruise-tours in 13- to 18-day lengths offer sailing along the coast of Norway on one of the line's three Millennium ships: the Finnmarken, the Trollfjord or the Midnatsol.

The cruise-tours provide SAS flights from New York, plus a one-way or a roundtrip coastal voyage between Bergen and Kirkenes; extensive sightseeing in Lapland and/or the fjord region, Oslo and Bergen; first-class hotels; most meals; tour director and local guides; all transportation in Norway; and air taxes and port charges.

NCV said an AARP year-round member discount of $100 to $150 per cabin can be combined with a senior savings of $95 to $170 per person for passengers ages 67 and older for cruises in May, August and September.

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Carnival Cruise Lines highlighted two upcoming theme cruises. Tai chi, yoga, nutrition techniques and "spiritual fitness" are just a couple of the offerings planned for the Oct. 9 weeklong Mind/Body Cruise on the Carnival Triumph.

Meanwhile, the line said it will continue its Rusty Wallace Cruise series, which includes opportunities to meet the Nascar driver, with a Dec. 5 cruise onboard the Carnival Conquest.

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Holland America Line extended its "View and Verandah" promotion through April 30 and added sailing dates as late as January to the promotion.

"View and Verandah" provides up to 10-category upgrades -- which would move passengers from an inside cabin to an outside cabin -- on cruise or cruise-tour bookings made through the end of April. The line said upgrades are available on ships in all destinations.

Travel agents making a booking in an outside category or higher stateroom by the end of April, meanwhile, will receive a Holland America Line scratch card good for a chance to win one of 2,000 prizes, ranging from bonus commissions to a free cruise. The grand prize is a 12-day Europe cruise on the Westerdam, which will launch in April.

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Oceania Cruises added new names to its onboard lecture program, which is part of the line's Oceania Cruises Enrichment Series. Among the lecturers Oceania will host are comedian Bud Friedman, March 29 on the Regatta; Bill Press, former co-host of CNN's Crossfire and MSNBC's Buchanan and Press, on the Regatta May 8; CBS sportscaster Verne Lundquist, on the Insignia May 17; military historian Brig. Gen. Stanley Ulanoff, May 31 on the Insignia; David McCullough, author and historian, on the Insignia July 22; and celebrity chef (and the line's culinary director) Jacques Pepin, on the Regatta Aug. 24.

On his hosted cruise, Pepin will lead the line's first Culinary Arts Festival at Sea cruise, for which Pepin and his guest, Jean-Claude Szurdak, will create signature menus in the dining rooms and offer culinary demonstrations during the day.

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Seabourn rolled out a list of onboard "celebrity guests" who will sail on the line's three ships this summer. Among this year's celebrities are: Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry (Legend, April 18), a husband-and-wife acting team; artist Giancarlo Impiglia (Pride, May 7); Michelle Phillips (Legend, June 27 and July 4), part of the '60s band the Mamas & the Papas; Alex Trebek (Pride, July 18), host of "Jeopardy"; Star Jones (Legend, Aug. 22), a lawyer and part of ABC's "The View"; and Arnold Palmer (Pride, Nov. 14), professional golfer and golf course designer.

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

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