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Budget Caribbean cruising

News, Tips and Bargains | TRAVEL LOG

July 10, 2005|Jane Engle

EasyCruise, the low-cost, no-frills cruise line that began sailing the French and Italian Riviera in May, is expanding to the Caribbean for the winter. And fares will be even cheaper.

On July 1, the London-based company, founded by EasyJet entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou, began taking reservations for Caribbean cruises from Nov. 12 to April 26. The weeklong itinerary includes port calls on Barbados, St. Vincent, Martinique, the Grenadines, Grenada and St. Lucia. It will pull into port about 10 a.m. and sail away around midnight.

Fares for Caribbean sailings on the 170-passenger easyCruiseOne recently started at $16.20 per person per night, double occupancy, or $32.40 per cabin, compared with $60 a cabin recently being charged for the ship's Riviera sailings. You must book at least two nights.

"Prices will go up as demand goes up," company spokesman James Rothnie said in a telephone interview from London, explaining that they fluctuate based on the level of bookings.

EasyCruise fares do not include food or housekeeping; cabin cleaning can be ordered for an extra charge. The ship has a hot tub and cafes but no casino or swimming pool.

The ship will wrap up European cruises in October, then sail to the Caribbean to begin its schedule there.

For information and bookings: 011-44-1895-651-191, www.easycruise.com.

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Reviving frequent-flier mileage

Got expired frequent-flier miles with American Airlines? The company will let you resuscitate some of them -- for a price.

If your miles expired on or after Dec. 31, 2002, you can reactivate them for a $30 processing fee per request, plus $50 for every 5,000 miles or part thereof. You must make the request by Dec. 31. For information, call (800) 421-0600.

Frequent-flier miles usually expire after three years, unless you book flights, make purchases with American's partners or log any other account activity in that period, said company spokesman Tim Smith.

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Second ship to sail in Hawaii

Pride of America, a star-crossed ship that survived bankruptcy and a shipyard sinking, is scheduled to begin regular sailings July 23 in the Hawaiian Islands.

It is billed as the first U.S.-flagged cruise ship in nearly 50 years, and the $400-million, 2,138-passenger vessel is already sold out for most of the summer, said Heather Krasnow, spokeswoman for owner NCL America.

Like NCL's Pride of Aloha, the new ship will sail among the Hawaiian Islands on weeklong itineraries, visiting Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the island of Hawaii. Prices begin at $1,049 per person, double occupancy, for summer, and $899 starting in September, Krasnow said.

NCL acquired the vessel after American Classic Voyages, which ordered it, went bankrupt in 2001. While being outfitted in Germany, it sank in January 2004 in about 30 feet of water, delaying its debut. The ship offers American-themed restaurants and decor. Many cabins come with balconies.

For information: (800) 327-7030, www.ncl.com.

-- Jane Engle

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