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Cruise Views

From Hijacking to Comedy

May 11, 1997|SHIRLEY SLATER and HARRY BASCH | Slater and Basch travel as guests of the cruise lines

Cruise buffs who are also film fans have their own favorite shipboard flicks, from tear-jerkers like "An Affair to Remember" (1957) to disaster epics such as "The Poseidon Adventure"(1972) and "A Night to Remember" (1958).

Now, suddenly, ships are back in the theaters, with two major features filmed aboard cruise ships due out July 2. "Speed 2: Cruise Control," a thriller starring Sandra Bullock and Jason Patric, substitutes the Seabourn Cruise Line ship Seabourn Legend for the runaway bus in the 1994 movie "Speed," while a new comedy filmed aboard Holland America's Westerdam has Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau playing shipboard social hosts in "Out to Sea."

Dutch-born director Jan De Bont, who also directed "Speed" and "Twister," (1996) came up with the idea of setting the thriller on a cruise ship. "I thought it was something that audiences hadn't seen before. . . . A cruise ship seemed the perfect setting to get [Bullock's and Patric's characters] involved in a very passionate, emotional way."

The couple is vacationing on a luxurious ship in the Caribbean when a computer mastermind played by Willem Dafoe orchestrates a takeover of the vessel. In "Out to Sea," Lemmon and Matthau play brothers-in-law who take a Caribbean cruise. Only after boarding the ship does Lemmon learn that Matthau has signed them up to work as dance hosts, even though Matthau's character, Charlie Gordon, can't dance. His real scheme is to find a rich, single woman, and where better than aboard a cruise ship, he reasons.

Seabourn Cruise Line is not only celebrating the movie debut of its Seabourn Legend but also the company's 10th birthday by offering some discounts on upcoming cruises. With fares averaging about $1,000 a day per person, Seabourn traditionally has had the highest-priced sailings at sea, but on 17 sailings between July and December, Seabourn has announced fare reductions of as much as 32%.

For example, a 14-day Aug. 16 cruise between Nice and Rome aboard the Seabourn Spirit is priced at $8,990 per person, double occupancy, plus air fare, instead of its standard price of $13,250.

And a five-day Caribbean cruise aboard the Seabourn Pride goes for $1,995 per person, double occupancy, plus air fare, instead of $2,750. Sailing dates are Nov. 9 and 14 and Dec. 1, 6, 11 and 16.

Aboard the Seabourn Legend, a 14-day Alaska cruise from San Francisco to Vancouver June 10 is $8,950 per person, double occupancy, plus air fare, instead of the usual $10,550.

Seabourn president Larry Pimentel also said the line has changed its policy of charging for alcoholic drinks and now offers bar drinks and wine free. The discounted fares and free drinks policy put the prices of Seabourn cruises closer to those of its primary competitor, Silversea Cruises.

Meanwhile, the Westerdam will be sailing 10-day cruises from New York and Montreal to eastern Canada and New England. Northbound itineraries call in Newport, R.I.; Boston, Mass.; Bar Harbor, Maine; Halifax, Charlottetown and and Quebec City in Canada; and cruise the Saguenay Fjord. Southbound sailings call in Quebec City; cruise the Saguenay Fiord; visit Charlottetown; call in Ingonish and Sydney, Canada; Portland, Maine; Boston and Newport.

The season runs Aug. 11 through Sept. 30. Fares begin at $1,721 per person, double occupancy, plus air fare, for travelers who book early.

Two fall foliage sailings are scheduled for Oct. 10 and 18, eight days round trip from New York, calling in Newport, R.I.; Boston; Portland, Maine (with a Kennebunkport tour option); St. John and Halifax in Canada; and Bar Harbor, Maine. With a 25% early booking discount, fares begin at $1,421 per person, double occupancy.

To get free brochures, see a travel agent or call (800) 426-0327 for Holland America, (800) 929-4747 for Seabourn, and (800) 722-6655 for Silversea.

Slater and Basch travel as guests of the cruise lines. Cruise Views regularly appears twice each month.

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