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Mystery cruise with high jinks on the high seas

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"MURDER! There's been a murder." someone screams. Heads pop out of portholes. Cabin doors swing open. The passageway quickly fills with passengers edging toward a clustered circle of horrified faces staring down at the deck. the "pleasure cruise" has taken a terrifying twist.

An Agatha Christie novel?

Not at all. It is the Norwegian America Line's first floating "Whodunit" cruise, which promises to be a mystery lover's paradise with enough mayhem and the macabre to lift an eyebrow of Sherlock Holmes.

The cruise sails from Fort Lauderdale on April 19 and will spend 15 days on a transatlantic crossing visiting Bermuda, the Azores, Lisbon, and winding up in Genoa, Italy.

But the trip's high points might just be aboard ship rather than on shore.

Passengers are bound to suspect something when they are fingerprinted and mugshots are taken at the "welcome aboard" party.

And then planners promise:

* Two mock murders will take place at sea. Passengers turned detectives will be asked to piece together the clues, with prizes awarded for the most interesting solutions.

* A Policeman's Ball with a "come as your favorite sleuth" theme. The prize for the most interesting costume will be the official detective's Burberry trench coat.

* An eerie midnight mock burial at sea.

* A "special event" when the ship passes through the Bermuda Triangle, an area said to cause strange disappearances and super natural phenomena.

* One passenger on board for the first four days of sailing will operate under a fake identity. Only the captain is free of suspect in this caper, planned as an ice-breaker to help guests get aquainted, since passengers have to interview each other to find out who the culprit really is.

Who thought up this bizarre voyage, you ask?


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