July 20, 2001
Festival Cruises newest ship -- European Vision -- has achieved quite a coup at the annual three-day G8 summit in Genoa. The 1,500-passenger ship is serving as a floating hotel for seven of the eight free-world leaders (everyone but U.S. President George Bush, in fact), from France and Italy to Australia and Japan. Each president-premier-prime minister has been assigned a suite with private balcony. Festival has made some just-for-the-G8-summit changes -- taking down walls to make larger spaces, converting excess lounges into meeting rooms and borrowing 19th century masterpieces -- all themed around maritime scenes -- but the rest of the ship is business-as-usual. Meaning? The casino’s open (even in port), along with hydromassage and swimming pools, a gym with basketball court, a 25-ft. climbing wall and a golf simulator. Alas, the only extras available to President Bush, who is lodging in a low-rise hotel in-town (security reasons) are in-room movies, a barber shop and a complimentary newspaper.