Arne Egeland, Executive Director for North America, Royal Olympia Cruises, sees "the best of times" ahead for the cruise industry and gives notice of some of the extraordinary itineraries awaiting guests of Royal Olympia Cruises this year .......

"It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." Charles Dickens’ ironic phrase still rings true today for the cruise industry, besieged since 9/11 by a host of economic and political challenges threatening the stability of international tourism. Nonetheless, the resilient cruise industry faces the second half of 2003 with optimism and creativity, buoyed by forecasts of growing consumer confidence, a healthier global economy, and the desire of prospective vacationers to get out and traveling again.

Responsive to the expanding market of sophisticated travelers seeking meaningful vacations to culturally rich and diverse destinations, Royal Olympia Cruises is looking at a bright 2003/2004 cruise season fully committed to presenting our passengers with the world’s most remarkable destinations within the framework of a comfortable cruise experience. Offering a dynamic and comprehensive portfolio of extraordinary itineraries ranging from three to 63 days in length, Royal Olympia’s fleet of human-scale, mid-size ships (including Olympia Explorer, Olympia Voyager, Olympia Countess, Stella Solaris, Triton, Odysseus and World Renaissance) showcase new points of embarkation and exotic journeys to the Hawaiian Islands, Amazon and Orinoco Rivers, South America and Antarctica, the Mexican and Mayan Rivieras, the Panama Canal, exotic Caribbean, Eastern and Western Mediterranean, and the South Pacific. Embarkation is offered from the comfortable U.S. homeports of Ft. Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, as well as from popular destinations in the Mediterranean and South America.

Royal Olympia Cruises has been breaking new waves with the addition of our two, high-tech sister ships, the 836-passenger Olympia Voyager and Olympia Explorer. Intimate in size and elegant in design, these yacht-like luxury vessels provide high style and superb service at top speed. Their proprietary Fast Monohull technology enables the ships to cruise at 30-knot service speed. As the fastest passenger cruise ships in the world, Olympia Voyager and Olympia Explorer afford access to unusual ports that cannot be matched by other cruise lines (including roundtrip Aloha Odyssey cruises from Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco to the Hawaiian Islands; a comprehensive 64-day South American Circumnavigation cruise from San Francisco and/or Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale, including Antarctica; and an exotic 46-day South Pacific Adventure from Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles). The ships’ state-of-the-art technology is blended with Royal Olympia’s time-honored dedication to providing life-enriching cruise vacations within an onboard environment of warm and personable hospitality, uplifting exploration and comforting nautical traditions that reach back through our 150-year-old maritime tradition.

Royal Olympia’s Classic Cruise Experience, embodied by the acknowledged warmth and hospitality of our Greek officers and international staff is further enhanced by the cruise line’s industry-leading onboard Enrichment Program featuring world-renowned lecturers, artists, authors, chefs and classical music performers of international acclaim. Superlative shore excursions enrich as well as entertain, and are designed for discerning travelers who prefer an active vacation with a cultural focus – one that piques intellectual curiosity with physical exploration. Diverse and customized pre- and post-cruise land options, as well as Early Booking Savings of up to 45 percent enable our passengers to expand their minds along with the value of their cruise experience.

As a sponsor of both the International Olympic Committee and the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee, Royal Olympia Cruises will provide three ships to serve as “hotels” for travelers to the 2004 Olympia Games in Athens, Greece. From August 10 – 31, 2004, visitors to the 108th modern Olympic Games can be accommodated onboard Olympia Voyager, Olympia Explorer or Olympia Countess, docked in the nearby port of Piraeus – the perfect embarkation point for a pre- or post-Olympics cruise to the magnificent Greek Islands. Together, the three ships will provide capacity for more than 2,500 guests in 1,700 luxury staterooms and suites.

The distinctive qualities that define Royal Olympia Cruises as a more “intelligent way to see the world” are also responsible for the cruise line’s recognition as one of the Top Ten Cruise Lines in its category in the latest Condé Nast Readers Poll, specifically in the evaluation of our original itineraries, service, design, cuisine and onboard activities.

We look forward to continuing to earn the industry’s recognition and our guests’ approval and appreciation of Royal Olympia’s unique, life-enriching cruise vacations.

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