Fresh Ideas Are Finally Starting to Make a Splash

Slater and Basch are Los Angeles free-lance writers

After decades of fine-tuning the same old cliches of cruising, a few cruise lines finally have some fresh ideas that acknowledge today's facts of life style.

The single-parent family, for example, has finally made it into some mainstream marketing programs to get more cruise for less money. Computer learning centers are popping up all over the place.

A new cruise-control video system aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's new Sovereign of the Seas will let you review menus, order wine for dinner, check on your accumulated charges, order room service or book a shore excursion, all from the interactive TV set in your cabin.

Newly widowed or divorced men and women, or anyone looking for a new lease on life, will find a sensitive and intelligent "New Beginnings" program aboard Royal Cruise Line's Golden Odyssey, Royal Odyssey and new Crown Odyssey (due in June).

Two years ago this line pioneered a low-calorie, low-fat, low-salt and low-cholesterol alternative to the line's regular menu in cooperation with the American Heart Assn.

Now, in response to passenger enthusiasm for the healthy dining program, Royal has created classes and workshops on board that will allow passengers to revitalize themselves physically, emotionally and psychologically, with nutritionists, psychologists, exercise physiologists, physicians and motivational specialists.

Resource Materials

Classes in everything from stress management to opportunities for second careers will be examined, and plenty of printed resource materials to take home will be provided.

Aboard Costa Cruises' CarlaCosta, anxious photographers can get their vacation snapshots (but not slides) processed in an hour at about the same price they'd pay at home, giving them a second chance at the Caribbean scenery if they didn't get it the first time around.

Fresh dining ideas crop up aboard Norwegian Caribbean Lines' new Seaward, due in June, with a casual evening buffet and an elegant white-glove restaurant to supplement the ship's dining room.

Royal Viking Line's new Royal Viking Sun, due at the end of 1988, will also add an a la carte specialty restaurant to supplement the main dining room.

In a seagoing version of frequent flier programs, every passenger who sails aboard the new American Star Lines' Betsy Ross, debuting Feb. 4 from Fort Lauderdale, will receive a credit voucher toward a future cruise, from $50 to $230 per person, depending on the cruise.

Easygoing Introduction

Passengers forced to cancel a cruise may, up to 24 hours before sailing, apply the money they have paid toward any other American Star cruise within the next 12 months.

Computer schools at sea give an easygoing introduction to the use of a personal computer, as well as classes in word processing, spread sheets, data base management and games and graphics programs.

Your teacher will also be happy to advise you on choosing a personal computer that meets your needs. The computers are often available from early morning to late in the evening for additional practice. There is no charge for the classes or use of the equipment, usually IBM personal computers.

You'll find computers aboard Holland America Line's Noordam, Rotterdam and Nieuw Amsterdam; Cunard Line's Queen Elizabeth 2 and Vistafjord; Home Lines Cruises' Atlantic; Regency Cruises' Regent Sea and Regent Star, and the new Sea Venture, due in June in Alaska.

Premier Cruise Lines, notable for its low-priced family packages that combine a half-week cruise with a trip to Walt Disney World and include a Hertz rental car, has a low single-parent rate for 1988.

A parent and a child up to 18 can occupy bottom-category inside and outside cabins with upper and lower berths for $460 (inside) or $540 (outside) for both of them on a three-day weekend cruise from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas.

A seven-day vacation including four days at sea and three days at Disney World, including lodging, can be as low as $960 for the two of them, depending on the season. Each additional child can travel for $105 and up on the weekend cruise or $280 for the full-week program. Low-cost fly/cruise add-ons are available.

Three Age Group Programs

Trained youth counselors supervise three age group programs for younger children and teens; facilities include a teen disco, video arcade, movie theater and ice cream parlor.

Premier Cruise Lines' parent company, Greyhound Corp., has been negotiating for some time to buy Home Lines Cruises, a conservative, New York-based, two-ship company.

If and when that acquisition is announced, look for more innovative ideas aboard the Atlantic and Homeric, which cruise from New York to Bermuda in summer and from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to the Caribbean in winter.

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