Let's start by defining the difference between a ship and a boat. Roughly speaking, if it sails on fresh water (lakes and rivers), it's a boat; if it sails on salt water (oceans or seas), it's a ship.
In addition to those two broad categories, there are a number of different kinds of passenger vessels:
Barges--Small, self-powered river boats. Generally, they are deluxe and serve gourmet food. I find their cabins are small, but comfortable. They are popular in Europe, and are a great way to see a country at a very leisurely pace.
Ferryliners--The large ferries that cover Europe like a fog, and can be used for day excursions or pre- and post-conference trips. They are very modern, with discos, shops, lounges, supermarkets, and deluxe restaurants. Small cabins are available. In the U.S., there are several ferries that sail from Washington to Alaska.
Mini Cruisers--The ultramodern smaller ships that sail into places a big ship can't, and provide a marvelous way to see coastal areas and waterways. They are finally becoming popular in America. Some are shallow-draft vessels that can get right up on the beach. Many of them have a bow ramp that drops down on the shore. I find the food to be very good and well-served. The entertainment is generally hired locally at the ports of call.
Passenger (Cruise) Ships--Vessels whose main function is to carry passengers. They have facilities for overnight accommodations for the passengers.
Riverboats--The shallow-draft passenger vessels that sail on the rivers of the world. There are five of these in the U.S., and only the Delta Queen and the Mississippi Queen have overnight cabin service.
What to Look For In a Ship In addition to great food and service, this is what I want in a cruise ship: * Air conditioned throughout
* At least one elevator for every 200 passengers
* Single seating for meals--This gives your attendees lots of time to eat and enjoy their meals without being rushed.
* View from the dining room
* Stabilized (if ocean-going)
* Thorough housekeeping throughout
* Built or refurbished in the past five years
* More than 10,000 Gross Registered Tons (this denotes capacity: 100 cubic feet of capacity is equal to 1 GRT)
* Good passenger/crew ratio. I consider a 2:1 ratio to be excellent.
Cruising 2000: The New Ships The ships listed here include those new to cruise line fleets through the year 2001. Plans for ships with inaugural dates beyond 2001 are so tentative that they have been left out altogether.
Early 2000 Costa Cruises Costa Atlantica * Berths: 2,112; Tonnage: 84,000
* Holland America Zaandam
* Berths: 1,440; Tonnage: 65,000
* Princess Cruises Ocean Princess
* Berths: 1,950; Tonnage: 77,000
Mid- to Late 2000 Carnival Victory * Berths: 2,758; Tonnage: 102,000
* Celebrity Millennium
* Berths: 1,950; Tonnage: 85,000
* Holland America Amsterdam
* Berths: 1,380; Tonnage: 61,000
* Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas
* Berths: 3,100; Tonnage: 136,000
* Silversea Cruises Silver Shadow
* Berths: 360; Tonnage: 25,000
Early 2001 Carnival Spirit * Berths: 2,100; Tonnage: 84,000
* Celebrity Millennium II
* Berths: 1,900; Tonnage: 85,000
* Princess Cruises Unnamed
* Berths: 2,600; Tonnage: 110,000
* Radisson Seven Seas Mariner
* Berths: 360; Tonnage: 46,000
Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas * Berths: 2,000+; Tonnage: 85,000
Mid- to Late 2001 Carnival Pride * Berths: 2,100
* Tonnage: 84,000
* Celebrity Unnamed
* Berths: 1,900
* Tonnage: 85,000
Norwegian Unnamed * Berths: 2,000
* Tonnage: 76,000
* Silversea Cruises Silver Mirage
* Berths: 360
* Tonnage: 25,000
Cruise Line Contacts American Hawaii * Contact: Lori Purcell
* (800) 933-9933
* E-mail: lpurcell@cruise hawaii.com
Carnival Cruise Lines * Contact: Sharon Goldfarb
* (305) 599-2600, (800) 438-6744
* E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Celebrity Cruises * Contact: Mary Reichenback-Lynch
* (800) 345-7225
Commodore Cruise Lines * Contact: David Stafford
* (954) 967-2100, (800) 538-1000
* E-mail: email@example.com
Costa Cruises * Contact: Toby Johnson, (305) 358-7325
* E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Crystal Cruises * Contact: Eric Graves
* (310) 785-9300, (800) 446-6620
* E-mail: email@example.com
Cunard Line Ltd. * Contact: Tanya Barnette
* (773) 276-7601
* E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disney Cruise Line * Contact: Allison Frohmann-Bolanovich, (407) 828-3411
* E-mail: email@example.com
Holland America Cruise Line * Contact: Paul Shortall
* (206) 298-3808, (800) 445-3731
* E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
KD River Cruises of Europe * Contact: J.F. O'Rourke
* (914) 696-3600
* E-mail: email@example.com
Mediterranean Shipping Cruises * Contact: Steve Hirshan page 85 c
* (212) 764-4800, (800) 666-9333
* E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Norwegian Cruise Line * Contact: Cindy Wolf
* (305) 436-4720, (800) 327-9020
* E-mail: email@example.com; www.ncl.com
Orient Lines * Contact: Cindi Occhuizzo
* (954) 527-6660, (800) 333-7300
* E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Premier Cruises * Contact: Joanne Cotterman
* (800) 327-9766
* E-mail: email@example.com
Princess Cruises * Contact: Hilary Ann Sullivan
* (310) 553-1770
* E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Radisson Seven Seas Cruises * Contact: Maggie Mantia
* (937) 291-2225
* E-mail: email@example.com
Renaissance Cruises * Contact: Kari Tarnowski
* (954) 463-0982
* E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Royal Caribbean International * Contact: Mary Reichenbach-Lynch
* (800) 345-7225
* E-mail: email@example.com
Sea Cloud Cruises, Inc. * Contact: Maritza Bush
* (201) 227-9404, (888) 732-2568
* E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Silversea Cruises * Contact: Mr. Jan Lueff
* (954) 522-4477, (800) 722-9955
* E-mail: email@example.com
Star Clippers * Contact: Jack Chatham
* (800) 442-0553
* E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Windstar Cruises * Contact: Noel DeChambeau
* (206) 281-0671, (800) 628-3354
* E-mail: email@example.com
Garth's Profiles of Ships covers more than 200 cruise ships. Call (402) 496-4118 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
When Celebrity Cruises' Millennium sets sail in June 2000, it will be the first cruise ship powered by gas and steam turbines instead of diesel engines. It's a technological shift that makes sense. Gas turbine propulsion reduces exhaust emissions by up to 90 percent, and cuts down noise and vibration. Waste heat from the exhaust, unlike the sludge and oil waste produced by diesel engines, can be recycled. The U.S. Navy has been using this technology since the 1970s.
The 1,950-passenger Millennium will cruise Europe from June through October, and then sail from Fort Lauderdale to the Caribbean in November. It will offer the largest luxury suites afloat and 80 percent of the staterooms will have ocean views.
Three more turbine-powered ships from Celebrity and two from parent company Royal Caribbean International will follow by 2003. --Regina Baraban
At the send-off of Disney Cruise Lines' second ship, the Disney Wonder, in early September, the question of who would be the ship's godmother was the talk of the pre-christening party. Who would crack the champagne and send this 875-berth beauty on its way?
Invited guests took their seats in waterfront bleachers just outside the Port Canaveral terminal. The 964-foot Disney Wonder was anchored offshore, the elegant ship's black hull trimmed in red, white, and a shade of yellow that matches Mickey Mouse's shoes. Donald Duck hangs permanently off the stern, precariously painting some final touches, while his nephews conspire to cut the ropes that hold him.
The new liner sails on three- and four-day journeys, with stops at Castaway Cay, Disney's private Bahamian island, and Nassau. Dedicated meeting space is limited, just one room divisible into three boardroom-size venues, but the 1,022-seat Walt Disney theater, the 268-seat Buena Vista Theater, and several restaurants can be used at certain times. As on its sister ship, Disney Magic, launched in summer 1998, many staterooms feature an industry first: a bathroom and a half, with a shower and sink area separate from a sink and toilet area. Disney also puts a new spin on cruise dining. Rather than theming the dining room differently each night, guests and their waitstaff move from one type of dining room to another. Another Disney innovation is the way it handles its classic customer: kids. As on other ships, there are separate pools for kids, families, and adults, but the real difference is deck five, much of which is transformed into recreation centers. There are separate areas for kids 3 to 8 and for those 9 to 12. Counselors at each area give parents a pager when they drop off their children, so they're always in touch.
On hand at the christening were Al Weiss, president, Walt Disney World; Paul Pressler, president, Walt Disney Attractions; and a cast of Disney characters. Disney broke from the godmother tradition to choose godparents for the Magic: Roy Disney, nephew of Walt, and his wife, Patty. So who would it be this time? With the help of Mickey and laser technology, the godmother appeared: Tinkerbell! Sprinkling pixie dust rather than champagne over the length of the ship, she sent the liner on its way. --Susan Hatch
It's tough to imagine a trip more rewarding than cruising Alaska on Celebrity's sister luxury liners Mercury or Galaxy, ships with a nautical elegance reminiscent of the glory days of transatlantic travel. Our seven-night sail from Vancouver to Seward, Alaska, on Mercury exposed us to landscapes that ranged from thick, lush rain forests to frozen ice-blue glaciers. Wildlife sightings included black bears, bald eagles, and sea lions.
These ships are purpose-built for Alaska cruising with lots of glass-enclosed public areas for gazing at the scenery, and 639 of the 935 spacious staterooms have ocean views.
Luxury is the norm. With the exception of the casino, the ship's design--with its $3.5 million art collection--is more understated than showy. All cabins have interactive televisions, bathrobes, and 24-hour room service. There's a spacious gym and spa, complete with more than 20 massage and beauty therapists. Thanks to Celebrity's culinary consultant, French Master Chef Michel Roux, the food is not only copious but delicious.
Meeting attendees are also in for a treat. The 183-seat conference room, with its curved ceiling, light wood accents, and comfortable seats with built-in writing tables, is a departure from the norm. Due to Celebrity's alliance with the Sony Corp. of America, the space is equipped with sophisticated technology including the capacity for computer-generated slide or video presentations, multilingual translation, interactive audience participation, and satellite videoconferencing. Another nifty feature is a production studio that can produce custom videos and broadcast them to remote locations, including stateroom TVs.
Ports-of-call include Ketchi- kan, with its Native American totems; Skagway, a gold-rush town; and Valdez, in a setting reminiscent of the Swiss Alps.
It is the shore excursions that will give you a feel for the real Alaska. We flew to the tops of glaciers, cruised wilderness areas, and rode a steep, narrow-gauge railroad along the path of the Klondike gold rush. --Regina Baraban