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Berlitz Announces Ratings for Top Five-Star Cruise Ships in Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships 2006

World Famous Cruise Authority Scores all of the World’s Ships in Annual Book

LONG ISLAND CITY, N.Y., Oct. 25 /PRNewswire/ — For the sixth consecutive year, Europa, the luxury Hapag-Lloyd ship, tops the list with the highest score in the most categories in Berlitz Publishing’s annual definitive cruising guide: Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships 2006, which is due in bookstores next month.

The winning ship is so high-scoring in all possible decisive areas that author Douglas Ward, world renowned authority on cruise ships, created a new class for the ship in an earlier edition: Five-Stars-Plus.

“Any ship on the Top 18 Five-Star list can be considered to deliver the utmost in luxury,” says Ward. In this year’s edition, he devotes a special section to more clearly delineating what cruise passengers can expect on a luxury cruise, as opposed to most cruises. “Luxury cruises are very special,” he says. “Staff will know passengers by name, and provide them with the finest in amenities. Guests don’t have to endure announcements and mindless background music in public rooms, and the menus are highly creative, with items like caviar, foie gras and fresh, not frozen vegetables in abundance,” he says.

While the Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships 2006 delivers the most far-ranging analyses and ratings for the 269 cruise ships that sail today’s seas, Ward says there is “no best cruise line in the world” and different ships will be suitable to different people depending on what they’re after in a vacation — luxury, romance, rest, adventure, teen fun or sports for the children.

Ward asks readers to carefully consider the numbers, which he so dispassionately compiles in the guide’s ratings, rather than just the number of stars per ship. “The numbers reflect evaluations in a most objective way, which is what I’ve been doing seriously for 21 years.”

This year, only 18 ships scored the numbers necessary for membership into the prestigious Five-Stars Club, as opposed to 20 which earned the rating in last year’s guide (Hebridean Spirit and Hebridean Princess are off the list. Queen Mary 2 went down several places, from 1764 points to 1712). See attached sheet for the full membership list and top Five-Star Ships in the world, according to the Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships 2006.

Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships 2006 has a suggested retail price of $24.95 and can be found soon at most bookstores, travel stores, and online outlets where maps and travel products are sold. For further information on where to purchase these titles, contact: Berlitz Publishing: 800-432-3294. Visit Berlitz on the Web at: http://www.berlitzbooks.com/.

Berlitz Publishing’s
Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships 2006

FIVE-STARS-PLUS (*****+) CLUB

1. Europa (Hapag-Lloyd Cruises) with 1,858 points out of a possible 2,000

FIVE-STARS (*****) CLUB

1. SeaDream I with 1,790 points
2. SeaDream II with 1,790 points
3. Seabourn Legend with 1,786 points
4. Seabourn Pride with 1,785 points
5. Seabourn Spirit with 1,785 points
6. Silver Shadow with 1,757
7. Silver Whisper with 1,757
8. Hanseatic with 1,740
9. Silver Cloud with 1,722
10. Silver Wind with 1,722
11. Queen Mary 2 (Grill Class) with 1,712 points
12. Sea Cloud II with 1,706
13. Sea Cloud with 1,704
14. Crystal Serenity with 1,702
15. Crystal Symphony with 1,701
16. Seven Seas Mariner with 1,701
17. Seven Seas Voyager with 1,701

See Berlitz Publishing’s Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships 2006, published this month, for point breakdowns and explanations for on ship scores.

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