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CRUISE WRAP-UP: NEW SHIPS, MANY BARGAINS

By Antoinette DeLandSpecial to The Christian Science Monitor / October 22, 1982



The news in the cruise industry this year: The addition of many beautiful new vessels, plus a slowing in the meteoric growth rate of the '70s, equals bargains for the cruising consumer. Many ship lines are offering monetary incentives right through the high winter season. Round-trip air fare between your home and ship is now often included in the published rates, plus such extras as free transfers from airport to pier, complimentary baggage handling, and overnight accommodations if necessary.

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Among the sparkling new vessels on the cruise scene is Home Lines' 1,000 -passenger Atlantic, just completing a maiden season from New York to Bermuda. In November, the vessel heads for Port Everglades for a series of one- to two-week cruises in the Caribbean. Noteworthy are two 17-day trans-Panama Canal voyages between Florida and Los Angeles in February and March, with rates from $ 2,940 to $5,795 per person (double occupancy), including air fare.

Strictly in the Caribbean is the 1,400-passenger Song of America, which debuts on Dec. 5, with Saturday departures from Miami to San Juan and St. Thomas. Until spring, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's $140 million vessel will be the most modern afloat, and readily recognizable by a 360-degree Viking Crown Lounge cantilevered from the funnel some 12 decks above sea level! On a clear day, passengers can enjoy a vista of 20 miles or so, and pay $995 to $1,965 per person (double occupancy and inclusive of air fare, transfers, baggage handling, and port taxes) for the privilege.

Cunard Line is offering a ''new'' Queen Elizabeth 2, with pearly-gray and white exterior and $10 million refurbishing that features a new Golden Door Spa at Sea, plus a three-month tour of the Pacific and the Orient before returning to transatlantic service next spring. The Cunard Princess has two itineraries scheduled for 1983: a Seven Plus from San Juan this winter offers more ports in the lower Caribbean than any other vessel (St. Martin, Iles des Saintes/Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and Tortola/Virgin Gorda), with rates from $1,065 per person (double, with free air from 40 cities); from June through September, the Princess will sail between Vancouver and Anchorage, offering passengers one-way programs each week and optional extended land tours. Rates for the week begin at $1,090.

That intrepid traveler Lars-Eric Lindblad and his new company, Salen Lindblad Cruising, launched two additional vessels this year. The unpretentious 79 -passenger Lindblad Polaris offers Red Sea cruises all winter and Baltic sailings in the summer which combine European capitals with bird islands. The 176-passenger Yao Hua (Brilliance) cruises from Hong Kong along the Chinese coastline and into the Yangtze River, the only Far East-based vessel with such variety. Two-week packages are available through Pan Am which allow plenty of time for sightseeing and shopping in both the Crown Colony and Peking.

Holland America is heralding the new year with a Silver Anniversary World Cruise aboard the Rotterdam. The ship line is also awaiting the 1,200-passenger Nieuw Amsterdam, debuting in late March in San Francisco, home port except for the summer in Alaska, where the vessel will sail on Sundays from Vancouver into domestic fjordland (with rates from $1,305 per person, double occupancy). Carnival Cruise Line's new 1,200-passenger Tropicale will also be sailing from Vancouver during the summer of '83, in between weekly cruises from Los Angeles to the Mexican ''riviera.''