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Jason

cruise ships as floating hotels for super bowl

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Cruise Ships to Serve as Floating Hotels for Super Bowl XXXIX

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Jan. 31 -- Superlative service, outstanding cuisine, limitless activities and great value are but a few of the reasons why cruise vacations have soared in popularity. In fact, it is because cruise ships are so versatile, and feature superior facilities and amenities found at the best land-based resorts, that these modern marvels can also serve -- quite literally -- as exclusive floating hotels for land-based events.

The most recent case in point is this week's Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville. Six ships from the 19 member companies of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the trade and marketing association for the North American cruise industry, will accommodate a total of 7,638 guests during the entire week of Super Bowl festivities.

Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Miracle; Holland America Line's Zaandam, Zuiderdam and Volendam; and Radisson Seven Seas Cruises' Seven Seas Navigator will provide Jacksonville's Super Bowl attendees with an added 3,819 rooms as well as 41 lounges, nightclubs, restaurants and show lounges to supplement the city's land-based hotel and entertainment options. A sixth ship, Silversea Cruises' Silver Wind, is in Jacksonville under charter to a private company.

Last summer CLIA-member line ships docked in the port of Piraeus, Greece, to serve as floating hotels for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Six ships were chosen by Olympic organizers: Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2; Holland America Line's Oosterdam and Rotterdam; Royal Caribbean International's Splendour of the Seas; Seabourn Cruise Line's Seabourn Pride and Silversea Cruises' Silver Whisper. In all, the ships provided 3,896 rooms and accommodated 7,792 Olympic participants and guests, helping Athens to boost Olympic attendance.

The CLIA-member cruise line ships will do the same for Jacksonville. Indeed, Jacksonville's successful arrangements to supplement the city's existing hotel base with cruise ships was a key factor in their ability to attract an event the size and magnitude of the Super Bowl.

"Many are unaware that cruise ships, which deliver outstanding vacations for guests from all walks of life, also provide ideal venues for large-scale meetings and events -- like the Super Bowl and the 2004 Athens Olympics," said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA, whose 19 member cruise lines represent 95% of the cruise capacity marketed in North America.

Cruise ships are not only ideally suited to serve as floating hotels for land-based events, but also represent an attractive option for meetings and incentive travel at sea. In comparison with land-based facilities, cruise ships offer several advantages including:

* Since only 16% of North Americans have ever cruised, a sea voyage is

new to almost everyone and provides an experience through which group

members can bond.

* Cruise ships provide a self-contained environment with a variety of

flexible meeting rooms, theaters and lounges that can be utilized for

private events. Some ships offer more than 10,000 square feet of

meeting space, equipped with cutting-edge audiovisual technology and

tools.

* Cruise ship dining rooms feature the ultimate in gorgeous ocean views

and all meals and functions are included in the cost of the cruise.

* Cruise ships are filled with features and activities and provide

extensive activities for spouses and children, available without extra

planning or cost.

* Cruise ships' virtually all-inclusive pricing makes a seagoing meeting

easier to plan and provides better budget and cost control.

On a full-ship charter, groups can customize itineraries to revolve around meeting schedules to include as few or as many ports of call as the meeting requires. Cruise lines can also help groups personalize their activities and menus and create themed events both at sea and on land.

The versatile vessels of the 19 CLIA member cruise lines can accommodate meeting or incentive groups of virtually any size, whether on a relaxing oceangoing itinerary or docked alongside a sought-after destination.

Source: Cruise Lines International Association

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