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Cruise port to open in West Indies

CARNIVAL Corp., the world’s largest cruise conglomerate, is opening a terminal in the Turks and Caicos Islands in the West Indies. The first ship will call Feb. 25, and by summer, six cruise lines will have visited it.

The terminal is on the southern end of seven-mile-long Grand Turk, a sleepy island with coral reefs and clear waters that draw divers and snorkelers. Optional excursions for arriving cruisers, depending on the line, will include diving, biking, hiking, kayaking, fishing and island bus tours.

Besides berths for two vessels, the $45-million project includes a 14,000-square-foot swimming pool, dozens of shops and a restaurant with several hundred seats.

The restaurant, Margaritaville, part of the Jimmy Buffett chain, will open as a bar and later add food service, said Giora Israel, Carnival’s vice president of strategic planning.

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The terminal’s first visitor will be Holland America’s Noordam, sailing from New York on its maiden commercial voyage. Carnival, Discovery World Cruises, Fred. Olsen, Hapag-Lloyd and Princess will also send ships in the next few months, Israel added, with more lines coming later in the year and in 2007.

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Wrangling up exhibits way out West

SEVERAL exhibits are opening in the West and beyond this month that can be worth a trip. Among them:

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* Honolulu: “Life in the Pacific of the 1700s” presents about 350 baskets, musical instruments, weapons and other objects gathered by explorer Capt. James Cook on Pacific voyages between 1768 and 1779.

Long available to scholars in Germany, the full collection of items from New Zealand, Tahiti, Hawaii and other areas is getting its first full museum viewing, according to the Honolulu Academy of Arts, which organized the show with the Institute of Cultural and Social Anthropology at the Georg-August University of Gottingen in Germany.

Cook was killed by Polynesian natives during a dispute on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1779. Paintings and drawings made on his expeditions will also be displayed.

The exhibit is Feb. 23 to May 14 at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, 900 S. Beretania St.; (808) 532-8701, www.honoluluacademy.org. Admission, usually $7 for adults, will be waived during the exhibit. Closed Mondays; hours vary.

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* Santa Fe, N.M.: More than 30 drawings and paintings by an iconic artist -- most on exhibit for the first time -- are featured in “A Celebration of New Works” at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, 217 Johnson St.

The show draws from recent extended loans and gifts, including more than 800 artworks from the Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation, said curator Barbara Buhler Lynes. Highlights include “Ghost Ranch Landscape” (circa 1936), a scene near the late painter’s home; nude self-portraits in watercolor (1917); and the charcoal “East River” (1932).

The exhibit runs Friday to June 4. Adult admission $8. Closed Wednesdays; hours vary. Information: (505) 946-1000 or (505) 946-1017, www.okeeffemuseum.org.

* Santa Rosa, Calif.: You’re a good man, Charlie Brown. But what about the women? Peruse “Sugar and Spice: Little Girls in the Funnies,” which runs through May 29 at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center.

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The show encompasses 100 years and 39 comic strips, including “Blondie,” “Little Orphan Annie,” “For Better or for Worse,” and “Peanuts.”

The museum, at 2301 Hardies Lane, will be free Saturday, with a program of tours, talks and demonstrations related to the topic. Otherwise, adult admission is $8. Closed Tuesdays; hours vary. Information: (707) 579-4452, www.schulzmuseum.org.

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More flights, packages to New Orleans

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IN another milestone on New Orleans’ recovery from Hurricane Katrina, American Airlines was to have resumed nonstop service Saturday to that city from New York’s LaGuardia airport. There is one daily round trip on a 136-seat MD-80.

Also, Southwest Airlines Vacations, which stopped offering air-hotel packages to New Orleans in August, began accepting bookings there last week.

The trips are offered through the Mark Travel Corp. in Orlando, Fla. Information: , (800) 423-5683. www.swavacations.com.

-- Compiled by Jane Engle

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