Travel Weekly's Cruise E-Letter July 15, 2003

PRINCESS MARGRIET of the Netherlands will be the godmother to Holland America Line's Oosterdam, which was delivered to the cruise line last week. The naming ceremony will take place July 28 in Rotterdam, Holland -- where HAL was founded in 1873 -- on the company's original pier. HAL's ship, the Rotterdam, which the princess named in 1997, also will be on hand for the festivities. The Oosterdam begins service August 3 from Harwich, England, and will sail to the Baltic region.

GLORY DAYS: Carnival Glory's got a ticket to ride. Astronaut Sally Ride, the ship's godmother, officially named the ship July 14 at Port Canaveral, Fla. The 110,000-ton, 2,974-passenger vessel sailed into its new homeport on Friday, becoming the largest cruise ship based at Port Canaveral. Beginning July 19, the Carnival Glory will sail its year-round seven-day Caribbean program.

MEANWHILE, Italian shipbuilder Fincatieri in Genoa, Italy, Thursday laid the first in a series of about 50 building blocks for the 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor, the sister ship to the 110,000-ton Carnival Glory. It is expected to enter service in December 2004.

THE MARINER OF THE SEAS, Royal Caribbean Int'l's latest Voyager- class vessel, will arrive in the U.S. earlier than expected. The ship's maiden voyage from Port Canaveral, Fla., was moved up a week, to Nov. 16. The first cruise will be a one-time-only voyage to the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and St. Maarten. On Nov. 23, the 3,114-passenger ship will begin sailing alternating eight-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises.

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE will use Norfolk, Va., as a homeport for the first time, providing a base for the Maasdam and a departure point for 16 Caribbean cruises in 2004. "Norfolk is conveniently situated within a few hours' drive of millions of people who will be able to drive to the Maasdam and spend more time cruising and less time traveling to and from a port," said senior vice president, marketing and sales David Giersdorf. The 10- and 11-day sailings will visit the eastern and southern Caribbean, respectively.

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