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176 Concord Street, P.O. Box 22287, Charleston, SC 29413-2287
Contact: Erin Dhand, Manager, Corporate Communications and Community Affairs
Telephone: 843-577-8121 • Fax: 843-577-8127 • e-mail: EDhand@scspa.com


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
5/26/2009

Celebrity Adds New Cruises from Charleston
Caribbean Sailings Start Next February

Charleston, SC - Celebrity Cruises, one of the world's premiere cruise lines, has announced new sailings to the Caribbean from the Port of Charleston, providing an endorsement of Charleston's broad tourism appeal.

This fall, the cruise line marks its return to Charleston, kicking off a series of port calls that will continue through early next year and resume next fall.

Starting in February 2010, Celebrity Cruises is offering a series of six 10-night and 11-night embarkations from Charleston to the Caribbean aboard the 1,898-guest Celebrity Mercury.

Then, in March 2011, Celebrity Cruises will offer five additional 10-night and 11-night sailings from Charleston to the Western and Eastern Caribbean on the Celebrity Mercury.

“We are pleased to welcome Celebrity back to the Port of Charleston,” said John F. Hassell III, interim president & CEO of the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA). “The quality cruise experience that Celebrity provides its guests is a natural fit for the Charleston visitor market.”

Travel media and cruise guests, including the readers of Condé Nast Traveler, consistently rank Celebrity as one of the world's finest cruise lines.

“Our travel agent partners and guests have repeatedly said they want more options to sail with Celebrity from the eastern seaboard, where our brand was founded and where we still have a very large and loyal base of cruisers,” said Celebrity's President & CEO Dan Hanrahan. “So, we're pleased to present some very attractive new cruise vacations from Charleston.”

Charleston's Passenger Terminal is located in the heart of the city's historic district, with shopping, restaurants, historic buildings and museums just steps from the ship. In addition, the intimate size of the Port of Charleston's cruise operation allows it to offer customized, special services to enhance a guest's cruise experience.

The cruise business is a relatively small, but important component of the local hospitality and tourism industry.

“Many cruise vacationers plan a pre- or post-cruise stay in Charleston, and this has been very helpful in attracting first-time visitors to the Charleston area,” said Helen Hill, executive director of the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “These cruises have also been well supported by local residents who appreciate being able to take a cruise from their own hometown.”

At the same time, the SCSPA and the City of Charleston are working together to enhance and improve Charleston's cruise infrastructure. The two are working on an update to the master plan that covers redevelopment of about nine acres including and surrounding the Passenger Terminal.

With the updated plan in hand, the SCSPA will seek development partners to improve and upgrade the facility consistent with federal security standards, while also enhancing the functionality of the terminal and surrounding property for passengers, ships and other commercial uses.

About the South Carolina State Ports Authority The South Carolina State Ports Authority, established by the state's General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport facilities in Charleston and Georgetown, handling international commerce valued at more than $62 billion annually and receiving no direct taxpayer subsidy. An economic development engine for the state, port operations facilitate 260,800 jobs across South Carolina and nearly $45 billion in economic activity each year.

About Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Cruises offers comfortably sophisticated, upscale vacation experiences with highly personalized service, exceptional dining, and extraordinary attention to detail. Celebrity sails in Alaska, California, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, Panama Canal and South America. The line also offers unique cruise tour vacations in Alaska, Canada, Europe and South America. Noted for four of the top 10 “Top Cruise Ships in the World” in the large-ship category, as voted by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler (February 2009 readers' poll), Celebrity's fleet - including the new Celebrity Solstice - will be joined by Celebrity Equinox this year, Celebrity Eclipse in 2010, a fourth Solstice-class ship in 2011, and a fifth in 2012. For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111 or visit www.celebritycruises.com.

For more information:

S.C. State Ports Authority - Byron Miller 843-577-8197 or bmiller@scspa.com

Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau - Katie Chapman 843-805-3074 or kchapman@charlestoncvb.com