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Cruise Views

Ship Itineraries Avoiding the Mediterranean

February 02, 1986|SHIRLEY SLATER and HARRY BASCH | Slater and Basch are Los Angeles free-lance writers.

The backwash from the Mediterranean is continuing to influence cruise ship waters from the North Pacific to the North Sea, as more and more vessels are being redeployed to Alaska, Eastern Canada, Scandinavia and even Russia for the summer season.

What was already shaping up as an unprecedented cruise season in Alaska has been further bolstered by the recent announcement that Royal Cruise Line's Golden Odyssey and Princess Cruise Line's Pacific Princess are also heading north to the glaciers this summer, boosting the total to 21 ships scheduled there for 1986.

Royal's Golden Odyssey, a longtime favorite of West Coast cruisers, is also introducing seven-day sailings, offering 11 cruises between June 4 and Aug. 13, sailing on alternate weeks from Vancouver and Anchorage. Ports of call will include Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, with cruises through Yakutat Bay to the Hubbard Glacier and in Prince William Sound to the Columbia Glacier. Fares range from $1,298 to $2,998 per person, double occupancy, for cruises only, with an additional $200-per-person discount on the sailings of June 4, 11 and 18. The 460-passenger ship is normally scheduled for a summer season of Holy Land, Greek Islands, Black Sea and Mediterranean cruises.

Between late March and early June, and again from late August through October, the Golden Odyssey has added sailings in the Orient, featuring China, Japan and Korea. Prices for the new 19- and 20-day cruises range from $3,498 to $5,848 per person, double occupancy, with some $750-per-person discounts on the spring departures.

Slated for Dry Dock

The line's Royal Odyssey will make its scheduled positioning cruise from San Juan to Athens on March 8, then will go into dry dock for maintenance, canceling Holy Land and Greek Isles sailings of March 27, April 8 and 20. After drydock, the ship will resume Western Mediterranean and "Great Capitals of Europe" cruises on May 2, 15 and 28, using Venice as a base port instead of Athens, before repositioning to London to pick up the Scandinavia/Russia series this summer.

Los Angeles-based Princess Cruises will emphasize Vancouver's Expo on its new seven-day round-trip sailings out of Seattle, offering two days with free tickets to the exposition, plus a full day and evening in Victoria.

Using Sunday departures, the Pacific Princess will also cruise the Inside Passage and call at Ketchikan. The season runs from June 1 to Oct. 5, with $300-per-couple discounts on June 1, 8 and 15, Sept. 14, 21 and 28, and Oct. 5.

Royal Viking Line has rescheduled seven of its 10 Mediterranean departures this season, according to president Joseph A. Watters, "in the face of current conditions in the Mediterranean." He said that bookings for Russia/Europe cruises are up 45% from last year, and North Cape and Canada/New England cruises are in much greater demand.

Three April and May sailings aboard the Royal Viking Sky in the Western Mediterranean remain on the line's schedules. Passengers booked on the canceled sailings will receive $100 shipboard credits and protected cruise and air fares on the new cruises, which will include Russia and North Cape, an Aug. 28 transatlantic, two September Canada and New England sailings, and a new series of autumn transcanal cruises.

Florida-based Ocean Cruise Lines has redeployed its 250-passenger Ocean Islander from the Mediterranean to Russia and Scandinavia this summer, with a series of seven-day round-trip sailings out of Copenhagen to Stockholm, Leningrad, Helsinki and Visby, between June 1 and Sept. 21. Fares range from $1,075 to $1,975 per person, double occupancy.

Debut in March

The new luxury yacht Maxim's ders Mers, originally set to sail between Piraeus and Venice beginning on Feb. 16 is, at last report, due to debut in late March in Monte Carlo with various Western Mediterranean itineraries, followed by a Caribbean winter season out of Antigua.

Per person, double occupancy, fares on this all-suites ship are $4,200 to $6,800 a week (including wine with meals). The interiors created by Pierre Cardin in Art Nouveau style reflects the interiors of Maxim's in Paris. Only 30 passengers will occupy the 15 suites on the 200-foot yacht, which should please those looking for smaller, more intimate vessels. Booking is handled through Irwin Korn, Osmond International Travel, 50 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills 90211, telephone (213) 855-1844.

Sea Goddess Cruises, operators of the luxurious Sea Goddess I and Sea Goddess II, was one of the first cruise lines to announce canceled Eastern Mediterranean sailings last December. All Egypt and Israel cruises for 1986 were deleted, and calls to Rome and Athens were reduced by 40%.

Instead, Sea Goddess will sail on 10- and 11-night itineraries between Monte Carlo and Venice, and on various seven-night cruises in the Western Mediterranean. Rates vary from $4,400 per person, double occupancy, for one week to $6,900 for 11 days.

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