As a part of Clipper Cruise Line’s Close-To-Home Cruising® schedule in December, the 102-passenger Nantucket Clipper will carry guests on two new voyages highlighting Florida’s many exciting activities. The Florida Golf Cruise will take players to four of the state’s most recognized golf courses, with onboard workshops by tour professional Billy Kratzer and plentiful excursions planned for non-golfers as well. Clipper’s inaugural Florida Family Cruise will visit wonderful attractions — Walt Disney World®, the Everglades, the Kennedy Space Center, and more — and classic cities along the Gold Coast and Florida Keys, with astronaut Capt. Jon A. McBride, veteran of two space shuttle missions, sure to thrill kids and adults alike with his stories of space.
“These cruises aboard the Nantucket Clipper really are wonderful,” CEO David Drier expressed. “Anyone would enjoy our Florida Golf Cruise, with golfers playing rounds at some of Florida’s top courses, with all the details taken care of by our Master Caddy, and those not interested in golf choosing from a great selection of other optional excursions. And, our Florida Family Cruise provides the perfect opportunity for entire families to enjoy the state’s many attractions in the Florida sun. We’ve purposely scheduled these cruises to fall during most schools’ winter breaks to make it easy for the whole family to come along and have a really memorable holiday,” he concluded.
On Clipper’s Florida Golf Cruise, golfers will have the opportunity to test their skills at four challenging courses, while their non-golfing partners can choose from an array of optional adventures throughout the trip, meeting up in the evening to relax on board and talk about the day’s activities. Golfers will enjoy the par-72, 6,773-yard links-style New Course at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Golf Resort in Orlando, designed by Jack Nicklaus as an homage to the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland. Also near Orlando is Walt Disney World® Resort’s Magnolia Golf Course, a par-72, 7,200-yard course designed by Joe Lee that hosts the final round of the PGA Tour’s FUNAI Classic and offers the signature Mickey Mouse bunker alongside the sixth green. The par-72, 6,500-yard Rees Jones-designed Key West Golf Club, located at the entrance to the island, is the southernmost public golf course in the contiguous 48 states and features championship-quality holes — including the infamous “Mangrove Hole.” Fourth is Miami’s “Blue Monster” at Doral Golf Resort and Spa, home to The Ford Championship at Doral on the PGA Tour. Its famed 18th hole (ranked by Golf Magazine as one of the Top 100 Holes in the World) is the highlight of the par-72, 7,125-yard course that was designed by Dick Wilson.
The Florida Family Cruise provides the ideal holiday getaway for multigenerational families by featuring a wide range of the Sunshine State’s top attractions. A multitude of shore excursions are planned in each port — geared towards kids of all ages — with evening meals and leisure time available to relive the excitement. During two days at Port Canaveral, passengers can opt for a day-trip to Walt Disney World®; a tour of the Kennedy Space Center, which is NASA’s launch headquarters and features a behind-the-scenes look at the past, present, and future of the American space program; or included excursions at Merrit Island National Wildlife Refuge and Jetty Park. Those on the December 26 departure may even witness the scheduled December 30 launch of the Delta 2 Rocket - Deep Impact, whose mission is to provide the first view inside a comet. During a day at Key Largo, guests will enjoy swimming, boating, and beachcombing at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, which is the only living coral reef in the contiguous United States. A special treat for snorkelers and divers is discovering the park’s “Christ of the Deep” statue that lies 20 feet below the surface. During a day in Key West, passengers can join a panoramic island trolley tour, snorkel among neighboring reefs, or enjoy time at leisure among the haunts of Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams. Two days in Miami offer opportunities for an exciting airboat ride through the famed Everglades, a city tour, or time at leisure for personal discovery.
“We’re excited with these opportunities to return to Southern Florida aboard our comfortable, yachtlike Nantucket Clipper,” Drier said. “A great advantage for us is that, by virtue of our ship’s U.S.-registry, we can remain completely within U.S. waters throughout our voyages and therefore spend our entire cruise focusing on all the great things to do and see in Florida. By contrast, most conventional cruise ships are registered in other countries and legally must spend tedious days at sea visiting at least one foreign port along the way, limiting time available for shoreside exploration. This certainly gives us an advantage in cruising this beautiful area,” he added.
As with all Clipper voyages, these cruises will include onboard experts who add an entertaining and educational focus to the experience. PGA and Champions Tour professional Billy Kratzer will offer an onboard workshop, on-course clinics, and stories from his tournament play on the departures of the Florida Golf Cruise. Joining passengers during their stay in Port Canaveral, Kratzer is a 30-year pro and winner of four PGA Tour events (including the 1977 Greater Hartford Open and the 1980 Greater Milwaukee Open). On the Florida Family Cruise, former NASA astronaut Capt. Jon A. McBride will entertain guests with tales from his two space shuttle missions during Clipper’s “Tour of the Heavens Star Party” in Port Canaveral. To accompany McBride’s informal presentation on this special night, the Brevard Astronomical Society will also bring along a high-powered telescope to provide views of the cosmos.
In addition to offering a wonderful vacation for the entire family, these cruises represent a great value and convenience when factoring the overall cost of the experience. The need for researching, confirming, and purchasing hotel rooms each night is unnecessary, and guests may pack and unpack just once since the ship travels along with guests, acting much like a floating inn. All meals and snacks are provided on board the ship, with several options at each seating that are sure to please. Also, car rentals and other transportation are not needed as Clipper will bring guests from the ship to the center of each attraction.
Overall passenger satisfaction is at the heart of every Nantucket Clipper cruise — from comfortable accommodations and delicious food to personalized service from the friendly all-American crew. To increase the relaxing atmosphere of the voyage, the ship’s Observation Lounge, which is the most-used common area, is complete with a small library, bar area, and inviting sofas and chairs for relaxing. Throughout the ship, roomy, wooden decks, window-lined observation areas, and all-outside cabins offer great vantage points for viewing the scenic shoreline and wildlife along the way. Travelers will also enjoy made-to-order meals, prepared by chefs trained at some of America’s best culinary institutes and served at leisurely single seatings. To ensure a “hassle-free” experience, each cruise is escorted by an experienced cruise director, and the friendly staff caters to every need.
Rates for the Florida Golf Cruise, departing on December 5 and 12, 2004, begin at $2,720 per person, double occupancy. This rate includes seven nights aboard the ship, all meals and special onboard events, snorkeling equipment, and a complimentary airport transfer to conclude the journey. Also included are 18-hole golf events at the Grand Cypress Golf Resort’s New Course and Disney’s Magnolia Course in Orlando; the Key West Golf Club; and Doral’s “Blue Monster” in Miami — with reserved tee times, greens fees, cart rentals, and transfers to/from the courses all included. Those wishing not to golf during these cruises will receive an $850 discount off the per-person stateroom rate. Clipper’s Florida Family Cruise departs on December 19 or 26, 2004, with rates beginning at $1,870 per person, double occupancy. Included are seven nights aboard the ship, all meals and special onboard events, excursions to Merrit Island National Wildlife Refuge and Jetty Park, snorkeling equipment, and a complimentary airport transfer to conclude the journey.