September 19, 2002
Is Europe 2003 hot? Or not? Cruise lines continue to reshuffle published itineraries with Europe, which this week earns the title of "most paradoxical" cruise region -- gaining one...and losing another. Silversea just announced that it's redeploying its Silver Wind, which was slated to sail the line's exotic "route" of Middle East and Far East itineraries next winter and spring, to the Mediterranean. And Celebrity, which has been trumpeting its huge return to Europe next year, having assigned a third of its fleet there, is now pulling back -- keeping Century to its current year-round Caribbean schedule. For Silversea, the change means that Silver Wind, which has been out-of-action this year as a result of the economic impact of September 11, will not relaunch in February as planned (a key time of the year to visit the Far East), but will return sometime in the spring. The ship, which has undergone a complete refurbishment, will offer fourteen new Mediterranean voyages during warmer weather months, including four Monte Carlo to London itineraries; exact details will be announced later. Then Silver Wind will head to the Caribbean for the winter season. Celebrity's Century is currently alternating week-long eastern and western itineraries from Port Everglades. The company has yet not specified the ship's homeport or its itineraries for the rescheduled season. The redeployment means that Celebrity will have two ships -- Galaxy's the other -- in the Caribbean on a year-round basis. In other redeployment news, Royal Caribbean has announced it is advancing Monarch of the Seas' repositioning to Baja Mexico. The ship, currently sailing short Caribbean voyages from Ft. Lauderdale, was slated to begin its three- and four-night Baja trips next December; now the company says the ship will begin that itinerary out of Los Angeles on June 2. Enchantment of the Seas will forward its planned replacement of Monarch as well and will head six months early to Ft. Lauderdale where it will sail four- and five- night Western Caribbean trips. These reshufflings are, at least partly, a result of a move by Island Cruises -- the Royal Caribbean joint venture with U.K.-based First Choice Holidays -- to pull Nordic Empress out of Baja California, leaving the parent company without a regular Baja presence.