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July 29, 2008

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July 29, 2008

 

Oceania Cruises Introduces The 2009 European Collection Brochure
Oceania Cruises new 2009 European Collection Brochure is out with 56 voyages to choose from. For a limited time, Oceania Cruises has expanded its Free Airfare offer from 20 North American gateways to more than 100 and is offering 2 for 1 Cruise Fares that begin at $2,299 per guest, making Europe a phenomenal travel bargain.
The 112-page brochure details the line’s diverse array of ten- to 28-day itineraries—sailing to the Greek Isles, Western Mediterranean and Northern Europe “We have designed this collection of European voyages to offer countless opportunities for enriching discoveries. With itineraries from Scandinavia and Russia to the mystical Greek Isles, Israel, and Egypt, our 2009 European Collection is one of our most diverse ever,” stated Bob Binder, President of Oceania Cruises.
Oceania’s expansion of Free Airfare from 20 to more than 100 North American gateways and two-for-one cruise fares is a limited time offer and expires August 31, 2008.

P&O Cruises Going Smoke Free
P&O Cruises is to go smoke free in all inside areas on board three of the
ships in the fleet. As of October this year two family-friendly ships, Oceana and Ventura, and adult-only Artemis will be no smoking in all inside spaces. There will be
allocated outside smoking areas on all ships and passengers will be able to
smoke on their cabin balconies. “Since Britain went
smoke free in July 2007 the British public has become accustomed to being
in a smoke free environment with 76 per cent of the general public
supporting the ban*, said P&O Cruises managing director, Nigel Esdale. “Cruise ships already provide so many ways to have a fun and healthy holiday, such as spas and fitness centers, and this is another step towards an even healthier holiday experience for all.”

Floating Out For ‘MSC Splendida’ At Aker Yards/France
In keeping with tradition, a momentous floating out ceremony took place this month at the Aker Yards in St. Nazaire, France as, MSC Splendida, the newest addition to the MSC Cruises fleet, was floated out. The ship was accompanied by a fleet of eight tugboats. At the end of the hour-long floating out ceremony in which she traveled about half a mile, this giant of the sea reached the dock where she will remain until her construction has been completed.
MSC Splendida and sister ship MSC Fantasia are the two largest ships to be built by a European ship owner. Both will be 133,500 tons. Each will have 1,637 cabins able to accommodate 3,274 passengers (on double basis) and 290,000 square feet of public areas including a theatre with seating for 1,649 plus the well-being center - AUREA SPA, which covers 17,384 square feet. Additionally these ships will have 4 restaurants and 2 buffet areas, 4 pools, 12 hydro massage pools, Sports Bar, Jazz Bar, shops, casino, disco, FORMULA 1 simulator, 4D interactive cinema, Squash Court and a Children’s and Teenager’s Area of 4,305 square feet with a pool, waterslide and dedicated Teenagers’ disco.

‘Clipper Pacific’ Held In Tampa, Florida For Further Repairs
According to Coast Guard reports, the Bahamian flagged cruise ship Clipper Pacific remains in the Port of Tampa after arriving Monday for structural repairs and safety examinations following a detention in New York when it arrived from Greenland with a small hole in hits hull on July 13. The ship was detained for several days as immediate temporary repairs to the hull were made and the ship was inspected for other safety violations—of which there were more than 60 safety problems. Officials cleared the ship to leave after the violations were resolved and the owners agreed to have the hull repaired at Tampa Bay Shipbuilding & Repair Co.
In Tampa, repairs to the vessel included the replacement of a 5-foot by 6-foot section of the hull and additional repairs to the vessel’s internal structure.
According to the TampaBay.com, more than 900 Clipper Pacific passengers are staying in local area hotels. Passengers cannot stay aboard the ship until its crew submits a Coast Guard approved Emergency Evacuation Plan, which must also be approved by local fire and rescue and other organizations. Once cleared, the ship will proceed to Panama with later stops in Guatemala, Mexico, Canada and Alaska before returning to Japan.

Royal Caribbean Announces 2nd Quarter Earnings & Cost Savings Initiatives
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has announced net income for the second quarter 2008 of $84.7 million, or $0.40 per share, compared to a net income of $128.7 million, or $0.60 per share, for the second quarter 2007.  Net Income for the first six months was $160.3 million or $0.75 per share, compared to net income of $137.6 million, or $0.64 per share, for the same period last year.
The company also announced a significant cost savings initiative that is expected to reduce spending by approximately $125 million annually. “Too much of our profitability is being eroded by the increase in fuel prices.  This is unacceptable and we are evaluating everything we do to find ways to do it more efficiently and effectively,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.  “While our brands continue to attract premium prices even in this difficult environment, it is imperative that we find ways to reduce our costs.”
As part of the restructuring, the company announced it is eliminating approximately 400 shore-side positions. In addition, the company announced it had discontinued some non-core operations, including The Scholar Ship, an educational partnership aimed at college students studying aboard cruise ships. The company expects to incur charges related to this restructuring of approximately $15 million, or $0.07 per share, in the third quarter 2008. “This is a difficult period for virtually all businesses, but we are determined to improve our operating results through tight cost controls, while preserving our outstanding guest experience and continuing to strongly support our travel agent partners.  We will also continue to make measured strategic investments, especially in growing the international operations of our business,” Fain continued.
In 2009, based on the targeted reductions, selling, general and administrative expenses per APCD are expected to be around the levels that the company incurred in 2004, and Net Cruise Costs excluding fuel, per APCD to be similar to 2007 levels.
Despite the worsening economic environment, the company continues to enjoy healthy demand for its products and its revenue expectations have not changed materially.  The company’s Net Yields improved by 1.0% in the second quarter 2008.  This was lower than the 2% forecast, mainly due to lower yield performance by Pullmantur Cruises, as a result of weaker demand in Spain and a grounding incident involving the Sky Wonder.
The company’s other brands saw Net Yield improvement of approximately 2%, consistent with previous guidance.  Close-in demand, booked within 90 days of sailing, continued to show strength and provided year-over-year pricing premiums.  Forward bookings for 2009 are strong, with higher load factors and higher prices in the first quarter and for the full year compared to the same time a year ago.
The company expects Net Yields to increase in a range around 2% for the third quarter 2008; to increase 4% to 5% for the fourth quarter 2008; and to increase 3% to 4% for the full year 2008.
The company expects third quarter 2008 earnings per share, including the restructuring charges, to be $1.65 to $1.70, and to be $2.55 to $2.65 for the full year 2008.  This forecast is virtually unchanged from that provided at the beginning of the year and at the end of the first quarter, except for the direct increase in fuel costs.  Mr. Fain commented that, “We continue to watch with concern both the high oil price and the weakening economy. While we can’t solve high oil prices, we are gratified that, except for the oil price, our business continues to do as well or better than expected despite the economy.  One might have assumed that we would have been impacted by both, but the fact that our business continues to overcome these economic pressures says volumes about its resilience.  We believe this is due to several factors, including the strength of our brands, the success of our newest ships, the value of cruising to the consumer and our growing penetration of new global markets.”
Based on current ship orders, projected capital expenditures for 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, are estimated to be $1.9 billion, $2.0 billion, $2.2 billion, $1.0 billion, and $1.0 billion, respectively.  Projected capacity increases for the same five years are estimated at 5.0%, 6.8%, 12.1%, 7.2%, and 3.0%, respectively. “Obviously, justifying new ship orders is becoming more and more difficult with a soft economy, weak dollar, and continuing escalation of steel and oil prices,” Fain commented. “We are fortunate to already have an enviable portfolio of new ships on order which enables us to continue growing our business outside of North America.  We are very confident the vessels we will take delivery of in the next few years will provide price premiums, operating efficiencies and rewarding returns, even at today’s high fuel prices.”
As of June 30, 2008, liquidity was $1.3 billion, including $0.4 billion in cash and cash equivalents, and $0.9 billion in available credit on the company’s unsecured revolving credit facility.

Onshore Staff Cuts Planned By Royal Caribbean To Offset Rising Fuel Costs
During an earnings call to financial analysts on July 22, Royal Caribbean’s top finance officer Brian Rice said the company would eliminate positions across the board. While no names have been announced, it is rumored that several top-level executives will be leaving as their jobs are restructured or eliminated.

Stars Shine With Celebrity Cruises Soap Cruise
Cruise enthusiasts who enjoy the intrigue, drama and romance of daytime TV's most popular soap operas - and the actors who star in them - are likely to find the vacation of their dreams in "Soap Cruise," which will be held on Celebrity Century in 2009.
Soap Cruise - the second voyage of its kind - will pair Celebrity's Star Treatment(SM) with exclusive activities allowing guests who have purchased the Soap Cruise package the opportunity to directly interact with 16 of the hottest actors on all eight of daytime TV's top shows. The activities will include autograph and photo sessions, soap opera trivia games, an elite cocktail party with the stars, and other special events, including the opportunity to write a script and act it out with one of the stars.
Hosting Soap Cruise will be Cameron Mathison, who plays "Ryan" on All My Children, and has appeared on Dancing with the Stars. Mathison will be joined on Celebrity Century by fellow All My Children actors Alicia Minshew ("Kendall") and Jacob Young ("J.R."); Austin Peck ("Brad") from As the World Turns; Brandon Beemer ("Owen") of The Bold and the Beautiful and formerly "Shawn" on Days of Our Lives; Winsor Harmon ("Thorne") and Lesli Kay ("Felicia") of The Bold and the Beautiful; Nadia Bjorlin ("Chloe") and Jay Johnson ("Philip") of Days of Our Lives; Bradford Anderson ("Spinelli") and Greg Vaughn ("Lucky") from General Hospital; Murray Bartlett ("Cyrus") and Ricky Paull Goldin ("Jake") of All My Children, formerly ("Gus") on Guiding Light; Kamar de los Reyes ("Antonio") on One Life to Live; and Don Diamont ("Brad") and Christian LeBlanc ("Michael") of The Young and the Restless.
The soap stars will mix it up exclusively with guests who have booked the Soap Cruise package on Celebrity Century's January 22 itinerary departing roundtrip from Miami, with visits to Key West, Fla., and Cozumel, Mexico. A limited number of staterooms have been reserved for guests interested in experiencing Soap Cruise.

Marriott Executive Joins NCL As Senior VP, Hotel Operations
NCL Corporation announced today that Dennis Nau has joined the company in the role of Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations. Nau is an accomplished and highly seasoned hotel and resort executive, having worked with Marriott Hotels & Resorts since 1985. 
During his tenure at Marriott, Nau held a number of very senior roles including General Manager, Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa and Hotel Manager and General Manager of the New York Marriott Marquis and the New York Marriott Eastside.  He has also held a number of senior regional positions overseas with operational responsibility for as many as 55 individual properties.  He most recently served as Marriott’s Vice President, Global Brand Management - Full Service Brands, with responsibility for the JW Marriott, Marriott Suites and Nickelodeon Resorts brands. 

Aker Yards Transaction With FLC West Approved In Ukraine
FLC West has confirmed to Aker Yards that they have received approval from Ukraine authorities to come in as a 70 percent shareholder in three of Aker Yards' shipyards in Germany and Ukraine. As all approvals from regulatory authorities are now in place, Aker Yards and FLC West will proceed with finalizing the transaction shortly.  The completion of the transaction will affect Aker Yards' third quarter financial results. Further details regarding the final financial effects of the transaction will be presented at Aker Yards' presentation of the second quarter financial results on August 8.

NCMA To Hold Open House October 30 In Fairfax, Virginia
The Niche Cruise Marketing Alliance will hold its popular Open House from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, October 30, 2008 at the Hyatt Fair Lakes Hotel at 12777 Fair Lakes Circle, Fairfax, Virginia. The comprehensive training and certification program includes a full day of seminars by the members of NCMA, as well as useful information on marketing programs and tools that can be used to improve a travel agent's profitability. The program will feature an opportunity to meet and interact with the NCMA members. At the completion of the program, participating agents will have qualified as "Certified Niche Cruise Specialists", which is the advanced certification level.
Agents will get to know the why, how and who of selling specialty "niche cruise" products and details about the various products that make up the specialty cruise collection. They will also learn proven techniques in how to sell these profitable products and meet the executives who make these products happen.
The normal tuition for this program will be waived and will be covered by a grant by NCMA members. Agents will also receive a free copy of the NCMA 2008 Sales Manual at no cost. The program will begin with a buffet breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and also include a full lunch.
Agents can register for the event by going to NCMA's website at www.nichecruise.com  and clicking through to Upcoming Training Programs and going to Events Listings. The Hyatt Fair Lakes is making a limited number of rooms available at a special rate of $169 plus taxes and appropriate fees on the night of Wednesday, October 29, for agents who might need to arrive early. Agents wishing to book the hotel should send their reservation request to nichecruise@msn.com .

Boutique On ‘Celebrity Solstice’ To Be Source Of First-Ever 86-Cut Diamond
This year’s most eagerly-awaited cruise ship – Celebrity Solstice – just added another first to its series of exceptional offerings: a ten-sided diamond cut for the first time, and available exclusively on Celebrity Solstice. Aptly named the Solstice Diamond, the patented gem’s 86 facets create a visible, distinguishing star pattern even more sparkling than the familiar 58-facet brilliant-cut diamond.
Sourced from conflict-free stones mined in Canada, the Solstice Diamond was created by UK-based Harding Brothers, who will manage the retail shops onboard. Mounted in hand-created settings and in varying sizes for rings, pendants and earrings, no two pieces will be alike.
The diamonds will be available in Celebrity Solstice’s luxurious “Boutique C,” one of 18 shops spanning three decks and 6,500 square feet onboard the new ship making her debut this fall.

Residential Ship ‘The World’ Redesigns Its Website
The World recently completed an extensive redesign of its website, www.aboardtheworld.com. In addition to an updated look, the site debuts features for more user-friendly navigation and a revamped image library to give visitors a look at life on board. Among the new components are a more detailed ‘Life on Board’ section, deck plans and apartment images for prospective buyers or those interested in a short-term stay, and an enhanced ‘Create Your Vacation’ section with excursion and itinerary details.

Celebrity Cruises Dishes Up “Sparkling” Series Of Culinary Upgrades
Celebrity Cruises is shining the spotlight on a series of enhancements to its dining experience. A core component of Celebrity’s Star TreatmentSM array of fleetwide features and amenities, Celebrity’s culinary program now includes more than 200 new menu offerings, a significantly upgraded casual dining area, and an entirely new brunch offering.
According to Celebrity’s Vice President of Food & Beverage Operations Jacques Van Staden, a highly accomplished chef and restaurateur who joined Celebrity just one year ago, the enhancements were inspired by a combination of extensive studies of guest surveys, constant monitoring of trends in the food and beverage industry, and an unwavering eye on innovation. “Our objective is to set the trend, not follow it,” said Van Staden. “That’s what makes a great dining experience. You have to shake things up now and then, and regularly introduce new and different offerings, along with the items our guests tell us they can’t live without.”
Celebrity’s new evening menus are so widely varied that guests on even 14-night itineraries will never be presented with the same menu twice. Each menu contains expanded selections in all categories, from appetizers to desserts.
Celebrity has made significant enhancements to its lido café/casual dining area on every ship, expanding its culinary selections, modernizing the ambience, and upgrading signage and equipment.
One of the most innovative aesthetic enhancements in the lido/casual dining area is the replacement of ice with chilled river rocks throughout the buffet area. Resting on the rocks are literally hundreds of new menu items, new service ware and presentation styles, new action stations and made-to-order areas, and more destination-influenced and ethnic cuisine, including Asian, Italian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and English.
Celebrity also has upgraded its complimentary coffee to the European brand, “Seventh,” a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans, which guests can sip from new, full-sized coffee mugs.        
Celebrity has replaced its former once-per-cruise midnight gala buffet with a sumptuous brunch – complete with the line’s lauded ice, fruit and vegetable carvings – in the main dining room. “Our guests loved viewing the elaborate creations we presented at the midnight gala buffet, but very few wanted to actually eat that late,” said Van Staden. “Now, we still proudly present our culinary team’s great artistry, but at a time when our guests can thoroughly enjoy it.”
For guests interested in late-night desserts, sandwiches, specialty coffees or other libations, Celebrity has introduced an “after-theater” menu in its Cova Café venues, to replace the former “Gourmet Bites” served throughout the ships on alternating evenings.
 “Our guests enjoyed the service and presentation of ‘Gourmet Bites,’ but very few actually indulged in them,” said Van Staden. “The new options in Cova Café allow guests who are interested in late-night dining a light, varied menu, featuring sandwiches, savories, tartlets, hot brochettes, canapés, artisan cheeses, fresh fruit, crackers, petit fours and napoleons.”

All Guests Of Seabourn Odyssey’s Maiden Voyage To Become Godparents
One extraordinary yacht, one incredible voyage, and 450 godparents. Those are the numbers behind the highly anticipated launch of Seabourn Odyssey, the newest member of the Seabourn fleet, in June 2009. Those fortunate enough to secure one of the few remaining spots aboard Odyssey’s maiden voyage will share the unprecedented honor of being named a “godparent” of the new vessel – a distinction usually reserved for a celebrity or otherwise noteworthy personality. It’s an honor that will be recognized for the duration of the luxury yacht’s seagoing life. “Everything we do at Seabourn is focused on our guests who, in a very real sense, are the reason this superb vessel is being built,” said Pamela C. Conover, president and CEO of The Yachts of Seabourn. “Those joining Odyssey’s maiden voyage will not only be treated like a celebrity, but will become a part of the vessel’s history, representing the many guests who have sailed with us in the past and those who will sail on her in the years to come.”
Each passenger aboard Odyssey’s maiden voyage, scheduled to depart Venice, Italy, on June 24, 2009, will have his or her name engraved on a plaque to be displayed on board the sleek yacht. An early-evening ceremony to christen the new yacht is planned to coincide with the summer sunset over the domes and steeples of Venice’s skyline – with all 450 godparents taking part in the momentous event.  Seabourn Odyssey will then make its stately way from the canals to the lagoon and beyond – a gala, 14-day voyage exploring the Dalmatian coast, the Greek Isles, and Turkey.

Nassau Hotel Offers Cruisers Day Pass
The Sheraton Cable Beach Resort in Nassau, Bahamas, is offering a $99 guest-for-a-day pass for visitors and cruise passengers who want to spend their day enjoying the resort’s superior guest experience – from great dining to relaxing on its famed beach. To sweeten the deal, day guests who wish to make a return visit will receive one complimentary night when they book a future minimum three-night stay at the resort.
The $99 offer includes a hotel room for guests to use during the day, as well as access to the resort’s amenities and services, including its three freshwater swimming pools, a swim-up bar, oversized whirlpools, and six restaurants and lounges. Rooms booked for the day will be available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Sheraton Cable Beach Resort is conveniently located just 15 minutes from Nassau’s International Airport and just 15 minutes from downtown Nassau and the port.
Guests will receive the complimentary one-night gift certificate via mail after their stay. One gift certificate per booking. Certificate is valid for one year from date of issue, and does not include additional resort fees and taxes. Certain black-out dates and other restrictions may apply. Management reserves all rights.
For more information or to make a reservation, visit www.sheraton.com/cablebeach  or call 1-877-782-0149.

Viera Named VP Of Sales – Southeast Region For Carnival Cruise Lines
Karin Viera, a 28-year cruise industry veteran, has been named vice president of sales – southeast region for Carnival Cruise Lines, the world’s largest cruise operator. In this capacity, she oversees a team of 16 business development managers in eight southeastern U.S. states who provide sales and marketing assistance and training opportunities to thousands of travel agents within the region.
 During her tenure at Carnival, Viera has held a variety of sales-related positions, including inside sales manager, director of sales and national accounts – western region, and most recently, vice president of sales - eastern region, for the past six years.

Carnival To Expand Popular Seaside Theatre Concept To Five Fun Ships
Carnival’s Seaside Theatres—jumbo-sized LED screens currently featured poolside on five Carnival Fun Ships, including the new 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor, which debuted earlier this month – will be expanded to an additional five vessels over the next year. The massive 270-square-foot screens display a variety of programming, including movies, concerts, news, sporting events and the entertaining “Morning Shows” which are hosted by the ships’ respective cruise directors. Additionally, during Carnival’s lively deck parties, music videos, along with live shots of the band and party guests, are displayed. 
The first “Seaside Theatre” debuted aboard the 110,000-ton Carnival Liberty in 2005 and the concept proved so popular with guests that the facilities have been incorporated into all of the line’s subsequent new ship projects, including the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream currently under construction and set to debut Sept. 12, 2009. The 101,000-ton Carnival Destiny and 102,000-ton Carnival Triumph will also be retrofitted with “Seaside Theatres” during scheduled dry docks later this year with the 110,000-ton Carnival Conquest and Carnival Glory set to receive the screens next year.
The 12-foot-high by 22-foot-wide screens utilize the same technology featured in large stadiums and New York’s Times Square and can be seen during both the day and evening hours.  In addition to superior picture quality, the state-of-the-art entertainment system includes a 70,000-watt sound system, providing concert quality sound, even outdoors.

Fred. Olsen’s ‘Braemar’ Lengthening Completed
The major refit and lengthening of Fred. Olsen’s cruise ship Braemar has been completed at the Blohm + Voss Repair GmbH shipyard in Hamburg this month where a new midsection was placed on the ship. The 31.2 metre section has created additional accommodations that will increase the total passenger capacity from 727 to around 950. Much of this accommodation will also include balconies, bringing the total number of cabins and suites with this facility to 70 (including the Owner’s Suite).
On Marquee Deck (Deck 8), Braemar now features a brand new Observatory Lounge, with magnificent viewing facilities, in common with her sister ships Balmoral, Boudicca and Black Watch.  There is also a new dining facility, the Grampian Restaurant, and a completely transformed pool area, with two swimming pools, a dedicated children’s pool and pool bar to enhance life on deck.
Another new enhancement is the Morning Light Pub next to the Neptune Lounge on Lounge Deck (Deck 5). The first Morning Light Pub is on Balmoral and is a popular place to relax with a drink and enjoy live evening entertainment.  Morning Light was the name of the largest fully rigged vessel owned by the Olsen family in the 19th century.
On Bridge Deck (Deck 7) there is a new Arts and Crafts Room, a peaceful haven which will be used for talks, lectures and tuition as part of Fred. Olsen's ArtsClub program of special interests – this is aft, close to the Skylark Lounge. Marketing director Nigel Lingard said: “By lengthening and enhancing Braemar we have created space to carry more passengers on one of our most popular ships, but have retained that ‘small ship’ friendly feeling. I am confident that our regular customers will be delighted with the improvements we have made and we also look forward to welcoming many new faces aboard Braemar in the coming months.“

easyCruise Appoints New CEO
easyCruise has announced the appointment of Fotis Kalatzis as its new CEO. Kalatzis, a Greek national, brings leadership experience from a number of large international companies, most recently with Procter & Gamble as president and CEO of the Prestige & Professional Care division at The Wella Corp.
Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who will now act as non-executive chairman, said that Kalatzis has ‘a wealth of knowledge selling and promoting products and services at an emotional level, and that is what we need to do with easyCruise.’

Tauck Reduces Single Supplement On Selected European Cruise Departures
Tour and cruise operator Tauck World Discovery has great news for solo cruisers heading to Europe in 2009.  The company is once again reducing its single supplement, offering savings on a total of 28 departures of 10 different ocean and river cruise itineraries.  The value is substantial, with supplements reduced by as much as 86% resulting in out-of-pocket savings of up to $3,000.  On average, Tauck has reduced the supplements on the special departures by 65%, for a typical savings of nearly $2,000.
Tauck has reduced the single supplements on selected sailings for a number of years, but the savings come with a small caveat. 
The ten European cruise itineraries offering singles savings are evenly divided between five intimate small-ship ocean cruises, and five luxury riverboat cruises.  The ocean cruises are aboard either the 60-passenger Le Ponant, which combines the romance of sail with the reliability of motorized power, or the sleek 90-passenger Le Levant, which boasts the refined ambiance of a private yacht. 
Tauck’s ocean itineraries with special single pricing include the 11-day Treasures Of The Mediterranean, the ten-day Venice & The Dalmatian Coast, Sicily, The Amalfi Coast & Rome (11 days), Istanbul And The Black Sea (12 days) and Mediterranean Discovery (12 days).  River cruises include Holland & Belgium In Spring (ten days), The Rhine And Moselle (13 days), The Blue Danube (12 days), Budapest To The Black Sea"(12 days) and Amsterdam To Budapest By Riverboat (15 days).  For more information, visit your local travel professional, contact Tauck at 1 800 468 2825, or go to www.tauck.com.

Bo Fridsberg is Elected to Niche Cruise Marketing Alliance Executive Committee
 Bo Fridsberg, vice president of sales for Hurtigruten, has been elected to an open three-year term on the Niche Cruise Marketing Alliance's executive committee. Fridsberg joins existing executive committee members Susan Shultz of American Cruise Lines and Mark Flager of  Voyages of Discovery, whose terms expire in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
 A native of Sweden, Fridsberg has worked in the hospitality sector for 30 years. He has worked as a tour guide and in the airline and hotel industries as well as the cruise industry. In his current position, he has full responsibility of Hurtigruten's sales development of North America and supervises a team of five sales directors.

 

July, 15, 2008

Carnival’s Newest Fun Ship Named in Dover On July 12

Multi-talented classical musician, singer and presenter Myleene Klass had a spectacular bottle-breaking “assist” from Royal Navy divers when she performed her first-ever Ship’s Godmother duties today by officially naming the 113,000 ton Carnival Splendor - the biggest passenger ship to sail from the Dover, England cruise port.
Ultra-fit Petty Officer Christian Rumming, 39, assisted by a Royal Navy dive team led by Lt. Ian Richardson, 34, was underwater near the bow of the Carnival Splendor when he heard a unique radio signal from Myleene Klass, playing live, Rod Stewart’s I am Sailing on the ship’s top Lido deck. PO Rumming let out some compressed air from his diving tanks and then personally climbed, in wet suit, safety harness and flippers, a 60-foot black marlin ascent rope to reach the Carnival Splendor’s name on the top of her bow. 
Instead of the usual bottle of French champagne, Rumming undertook Myleene’s command and smashed against the hull a bottle of the 1994 vintage Nyetimber English sparkling wine, chosen by Carnival to emphasize their selection of Britain to launch their largest and latest fun ship.
Carnival Splendor offers a comprehensive selection of restaurants, show-stopping entertainment, four swimming pools, a 5,500 sq ft children’s play area and Carnival’s largest ever floating spa featuring a thalassotherapy pool, thermal suite and 17 treatment rooms.
Exclusive video of the naming ceremony can be seen at www.carnival.com/splendor
                        
Lars Olsson Chosen As New Chairman Of Passenger Shipping Agency
The Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) has announced that Lars Olsson, of Stena Line, will succeed Cunard Line’s president Carol Marlow as its new chairman. The announcement was made at the Association’s Annual General Meeting held in London earlier this month.
Olsson will lead the PSA, which is responsible for the promotion of travel by sea and has 37 cruise and 17 ferry members, for a two year term. Olsson was previously the PSA’s Ferry Section Chairman, a position that will be taken up by Simon Johnson of P&O Ferries. The Cruise Section chair is Peter Shanks from Carnival UK.

New Fire Regulations For Ship Balconies Now Into Effect
International Convention at Sea amendments to SOLAS chapter II-2 and to the International Code for Fire Safety Systems (FSS Code) to strengthen the fire protection arrangements in relation to cabin balconies on passenger vessels went into effect on July 1, 2008. The amendments were developed in response to the fire aboard the cruise ship Star Princess, while on passage between Grand Cayman and Montego Bay, Jamaica, in March 2006. The fire began on an external balcony and spread over several decks.
The amendments are aimed at ensuring that existing regulations 4.4 (Primary deck coverings), 5.3.1.2 (Ceilings and linings), 5.3.2 (Use of combustible materials) and 6 (Smoke generation potential and toxicity) are also applied to cabin balconies on new passenger ships.
For existing passenger ships, relevant provisions require that furniture on cabin balconies be of restricted fire risk unless fixed water spraying systems, fixed fire detection and fire alarm systems are fitted and that partitions separating balconies be constructed of non combustible materials, similar to the provisions for new passenger ships.
The SOLAS amendments will apply to ships for which the building contract is placed on or after July 1, 2008; or, in the absence of a building contract, the keels of which are laid on or after 1 January 2009, or the delivery of which is on or after July 1, 2012.

NCL Announces Partnership 2.0 Advisory Board
Norwegian Cruise Line has announced the formation of the Partnership 2.0 Advisory Board, a group comprising 16 select travel agents from across the country who represent a cross-section of NCL’s travel partners.   Launched as part of its major travel partner initiative, Partnership 2.0, the board will meet periodically, providing feedback to NCL regarding new travel partner programs and advancements, along with suggestions for improving existing policies, communications and product delivery. “This advisory board plays a critical role in guiding NCL along the right path to future success, not only with our travel partners, but also with our guests,” said Colin Veitch, NCL’s president and CEO. “The group serves as a sounding board where new ideas are formulated, tested and measured before they’re implemented.”
The Partnership 2.0 Advisory  Board is comprised of the following members: John Keen, CruiseDeals.com; Brad Anderson, America’s Vacation Center; Tom Coiro, Direct Line Cruises; Tom Baker, Cruisecenter.com; Emerson Hankammer, Vacations To Go; David Crooks, World Travel Holdings; Koreen McNutt, Expedia; John Lovell, Vacations.com; Makis Xenatos, Liberty Travel; Vicky Garcia, Cruise Planners; Dwain Wall, CruiseOne  and Cruises Inc; Anthony Hamawy, Cruise Ticket Center; Don Walker, WPMH Vacations; Marc Jacobs, The Cruise Line Ltd; Michael Drever, CruiseShip Centers; and Paul Bruzzese, Virtuoso.

Cruise West Ship Goes Aground In Alaska’s  Glacier Bay
Earlier this month Cruise West’s vessel, Spirit of Glacier Bay, touched bottom in Glacier Bay in the vicinity of Grand Pacific Glacier.  There was no compromise to the hull and no injuries to any of the 24 passengers or 27 crewmembers, nor any threat to marine life or the environment. Those onboard the ship safely transferred as a precautionary measure to the Glacier Bay National Park Service vessel, Fairweather II Express, where they continued onto Bartlett Cove and then onto Juneau where arrangements were made for their return to home.
As compensation, Cruise West is refunding guests 100 percent of their cruise fare; 50 percent cash and 50 percent future cruise credit. 
The Spirit of Glacier Bay refloated with the tide and sailed to Bartlett Cove under its own power, escorted by the 110-foot United States Coast Guard Cutter Liberty. Cruise West and United States Coast Guard Sector Juneau personnel are reviewing the ship and will make a decision as to the status of its next itinerary very shortly. “The safety of our guests is always our number one concern,” says Cruise West in a statement issued shortly after of the incident. “As such, we are currently in the process of working with the Coast Guard on a thorough Safety Management System Review. This entails a focused effort on the part of Cruise West, the Coast Guard, and an objective third party to gain any insights on how we can best continue to provide the safest product for our guests. We will continue to cooperate with the Coast Guard and seek their input as we work to provide the best possible cruise experience now and into the future.”
The ship formerly operated as the Spirit of Nantucket and Nantucket Clipper was built in 1984. She underwent minor refurbishing and was renamed and repositioned to Alaska this year, where twice a week the vessel runs cruises of Glacier Bay National Park, a 3.3-million acre marine park known for its spectacular glaciers and marine mammals.

First World Cruise Ever For ‘Sun Princess’ Out of Sydney
Princess Cruises’ superliner Sun Princess sailed away on the first world cruise ever to depart from Australia this month. The 77,000-ton Sun Princess departed from Sydney’s Circular Quay carrying about 1900 passengers on its 75-night Grand Pacific World Cruise, which will visit 29 ports in 17 countries. More than 80 per cent of passengers are from Australia and New Zealand and more than 75 per cent are taking the entire world cruise, reflecting growing interest among Australian passengers in longer voyages. “For decades, Australians have had to fly halfway around the world to join the start of a world cruise, said Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia. “It really marks a coming of age for the Australian cruise industry.”
Sun Princess will make maiden calls to 12 ports including Moorea in Tahiti, Christmas Island, Petropavlovsk in Russia, Osaka and Nagasaki in Japan and Shanghai and Hong Kong in China.

MSC Cruises Is Honored By Aluminum Recycling Consortium
MSC Cruises has been honored by an Italian consortium for its recycling efforts. Each year CiAl (Consorzio Nazionale per il Recupero e il Riciclo di Imballaggi in Alluminio) recognizes Italian City Councils that distinguish themselves by recycling and promoting environmental issues as they collect recycled material.
This year, in addition to honoring three City Councils, the consortium also recognized the MSC Cruises fleet, in its role as a “floating council’ with thousands of inhabitants that glides on the sea, safeguarding the environment within a controlled framework of development.
MSC Cruises entered into an agreement with CiAl in the spring of 2007 for a collection of the boxes storing large quantities of aluminium that had been collected between May to December 2007. The company collected more than 22,000 pounds of aluminium, which was subsequently picked up in the port of Genoa.

Carnival Corporation & Plc Declares Dividend
Carnival Corporation & plc has announced that it has declared a dividend of $0.40 per share. The boards approved a record date for the quarterly dividend of August 22, 2008, and a payment date of September 12, 2008.
Holders of Carnival Corporation common stock and Carnival plc ADSs will receive the dividend payable in U.S. dollars.  The dividend for Carnival plc ordinary shares will be payable in U.S. dollars or sterling.  In the absence of instructions or elections to the contrary, holders of Carnival plc ordinary shares will automatically receive the dividend in sterling. 
Dividends payable in sterling will be converted from U.S. dollars at the exchange rate quoted by the Bank of England in London at 12 noon on September 2, 2008.  Holders of Carnival plc ordinary shares wishing to receive their dividend in U.S. dollars or participate in the Carnival plc Dividend Reinvestment Plan must elect to do so by August 22, 2008.     
 
Cunard Presents National Symphony Orchestra 2008-2009 Red Series
Cunard Line is proud to announce a new partnership with the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO), an artistic affiliate of Washington, D.C.’s famed Kennedy Center.  A highlight of the new alliance is the organization’s upcoming debut aboard Queen Mary 2 as featured guests of the acclaimed Cunard Insights program.  Six Kennedy Center Chamber Players and Nigel Boon, NSO director of artistic planning, will present programs (including three performances and three lectures) on the ship’s September 8, 2009 Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing.  In addition, Cunard is the presenting sponsor of the NSO’s 2008 - 2009 Red Series, a seven-performance classical series spanning from October 2008 to May 2009 featuring the finest artistic programming and guest artists from around the world.

Royal Caribbean To Hold Conference Call On Second Quarter Earnings
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has scheduled a conference call with analysts for 10 a.m. Eastern time, Tuesday, July 22, 2008, to discuss the company’s second quarter financial results.  The call can be listened to by all interested parties at the company’s investor relations web site, www.rclinvestor.com.  To listen to the call, please dial (877) 663-9606 in the US and Canada.  International phone calls should be made to (706) 758-4628.

Christian Sauleau Rejoins Silversea Cruises As Exec VP Fleet Operations
Christian Sauleau has rejoined Silversea Cruises as executive vice president of fleet operations, overseeing marine, technical, hotel, crewing, entertainment and land programs.  He reports to the company's CEO, Amerigo Perasso.  Sauleau was the line's senior vice president of operations in the mid-1990s, and was instrumental in developing the award-winning company's exceptional reputation for personalized service and hospitality.  He will be based in the Fort Lauderdale office.
Most recently, Sauleau was the executive vice president of operations at Regent Seven Seas Cruises, where he played an integral role in the expansion of their fleet, overseeing construction of new vessels.    His career also includes several years at Royal Viking Line in both shipboard and shoreside capacities.  As vice president of hotel operations at Royal Viking Line, he supervised purchasing, entertainment, shore programs and meet-and-greet services.

 

Fred.Olsen’s ‘Braemar’ Lengthening Completed
The two-month-long major refit and lengthening of Fred. Olsen’s cruise ship, Braemar was completed and she will resume her cruises out of Southampton UK.
 Braemar arrived at the Blohm + Voss Repair GmbH shipyard in Hamburg in Mayfor work to begin on inserting a new mid section into the vessel. The 31.2 meter section has increased the total passenger capacity from 727 to 968 with additional accommodations and balconies added in the refit.
The greatest addition to passenger facilities can be seen on Marquee Deck (Deck 8).  Braemar now boasts a brand new Observatory Lounge, with magnificent viewing facilities, in common with her sister ships Balmoral, Boudicca and Black Watch.  There is also a new dining facility, the Grampian Restaurant, and a completely transformed pool area, with two swimming pools, a dedicated children’s pool and pool bar to enhance life on deck.
Another new enhancement is the Morning Light Pub next to the Neptune Lounge on Lounge Deck (Deck 5)—Morning Light was the name of the largest fully rigged vessel owned by the Olsen family in the 19th century. Marketing director Nigel Lingard said: “By lengthening and enhancing Braemar we have created space to carry more passengers on one of our most popular ships, but have retained that ‘small ship’ friendly feeling. I am confident that our regular customers will be delighted with the improvements we have made and we also look forward to welcoming many new faces aboard Braemar in the coming months.“
Braemar originally sailed as the Crown Dynasty ,Norwegian Majesty, Crown Majesty, Cunard Dynasty and Crown Dynasty. Fred. Olsen acquired the ship in 2001 and renamed her Braemar.

Holland America Line Names ms Eurodam in Rotterdam on Tuesday, July 1
In a ceremony rich with pomp, circumstance and Dutch heritage, Holland America Line named ms Eurodam in its founding city of Rotterdam on July 1. Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands officially named the ship in front of the historic European

Queen Beatrix rings the ship bell to
signal the release of the champagne bottle
to be broken against the side of the ship.
headquarters of Holland America Line at Wilhelminakade, Rotterdam's cruise terminal.
"We are exceptionally honored to have Her Majesty Queen Beatrix as the godmother of this beautiful ship," said Stein Kruse, president and chief executive officer, Holland America Line. "With tens of thousands of people coming out to see our newest ship, which will proudly fly the Dutch flag, it is really quite an emotional homecoming for all of us at Holland America Line."
The 2,104-guest ship, built at Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard is the 14th ship in the premium line's distinguished fleet and the first in its Signature-class series. Following its inaugural Europe season, the ship will sail its first trans-Atlantic cruise, followed by a series of Canada/New England sailings in the fall before deploying on Caribbean itineraries for the remainder of 2008. Watch for Shipsandcruises’ review of Eurodam in September.

Orient Lines Reborn Under New Ownership
Orient Lines, the destination cruise specialist founded by British cruise and tour entrepreneur Gerry Herrod in 1992, has now been acquired by another cruise industry visionary, Wayne Heller. Heller’s Origin Cruise Group LLC purchased the award-winning brand from Star Cruises Limited.
Heller is the founder of Orlando-based cruise retailer Cruises Only, which became the largest seller of cruises in North America. His great love for cruising fueled his desire to preserve Orient Lines and its unique destination-oriented worldwide itineraries.
Much like the former company’s beloved Marco Polo, the “new” Orient Lines plans to acquire vessels that are rich in history and character and that can carry 600 to 800 passengers in great comfort and safety to all seven continents. Moreover, the line’s hallmark cruise-tour product, which seamlessly incorporates pre- and/or post-cruise hotel stays and orientation sightseeing tours, distinguished guest lecturers and local cultural highlights, where possible, will be preserved. In the coming weeks we will announce our new flagship, followed by inaugural cruise itineraries and the senior management team,” said Heller. “As for details of the onboard product, consumers and travel agents can expect the same friendly and gracious service that has endeared legions of intrepid travelers to Orient Lines over the past 15 years.”
The cruise line will be interviewing candidates during July with plans to open its reservation center in August. Applications are currently being accepted for sales, reservations, passenger services and accounting departments. Additionally, Orient Lines is seeking sales managers for the following six territories: Northern California, Southern California, Texas, Midwest, NY/NJ and Southeast. Regional sales managers must have at least five years experience working a multi-state territory and selling worldwide destination travel products. Interested applicants should send a brief cover note and resume to Orient Lines HR Dept., P.O. Box 470275, Celebration, FL 34747; fax 407-566-0826 or HR@origincruisegroup.com .

Colin Veitch Resigns From Star Cruises’ Board Of Directors
Effective June 17, 2008. Colin Veitch resigned as an executive Director of the
ar Cruises Company. Veitch says he had no disagreement with the Board but that he wanted to concentrate more fully on his role as president and chief executive officer of NCL, a subsidiary of Star Crusies. Veitch received the sum of $10 million as part of a five-year, noncompetition agreement not to engage in businesses or employment that would compete against the business of Star Cruises.

 

NCL’s Norwegian Dawn In Dramatic Sea Rescue Of Sailing Ship

Norwegian Dawn, while sailing off the coast of Massachusetts and New York on Monday, June 30, 2008 on its way to Bermuda, answered two separate distress calls within twelve hours, rescuing two injured sailors from different boats in rough seas.
The first rescue, 210 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass., involved the sailboat Patriot on its way back from Bermuda where it competed in a race.  One of Patriot's crew members was suffering from shock-like symptoms and needed to be evacuated immediately. Contacted by the United States Coast Guard since it was the closest ship to the sailboat, approximately 52 miles away, the ship quickly diverted course and made radio contact with Patriot. The Coast Guard had already deployed an aircraft to provide additional support for the rescue operation.
Norwegian Dawn Captain Trygve Vorren skillfully maneuvered the 965-foot cruise ship along side the 40-foot sailboat and ordered a small rescue boat lowered.  Despite winds up to 35 knots and waves up to fifteen feet, a three-person rescue team from Norwegian Dawn was able to embark the ill sailor without difficulty.  He was treated for dehydration by the ship’s doctor.
Within twelve hours of rescuing the first sailor, Captain Vorren was notified of another, potentially more serious, injury on the sailboat Misty approximately 260 miles south of Montauk, NY.  A male crew member aboard the Misty sustained a head injury and was loosing consciousness.  Once again, Norwegian Dawn was the closest ship, approximately 32 nautical miles away.  With winds gusting up to 33 knots and 20-foot swells, Norwegian Dawn located the vessel, lowered a rescue boat with the same three crew members manning it and took the injured sailor onto the ship where he received immediate medical attention, including five stitches to the forehead.
A video of Patriot in rough seas available from the US Coast Guard at
http://cgvi.uscg.mil/media/main.php?g2_itemId=317911

Destination Specialists Can Win Two Free Cruises For Two In Hawaii
To help introduce its new luxury adventure Hawaii product to agents who specialize in travel to the islands, American Safari Cruises will award two free inter-island cruises for two for the 2009 inaugural season aboard the company's new 145-foot, 36-guest flagship mega-yacht, the Safari Explorer. Eight-day, seven-night inter-island cruises between the Big Island and Maui begin Dec. 19 and run through early May 2009. "We have a new way to see the Hawaiian islands," says Tim Jacox, vice president of sales and marketing. "And our product is so different that even travelers who think they've already 'done' Hawaii, will find this a totally new experience. That's why Hawaii specialists will benefit from knowing about us."            
The itineraries follow the routes less traveled, spending the night at anchor, meeting and learning from the locals, snorkeling and diving, and searching for wildlife. The captain and many of the crew hail from Hawaii and have extensive knowledge of the islands.
The drawing for the two cruises, valued at $10,390 each for two couples (not including airfare), is open to accredited Hawaii destination specialists who participate in one of two 90-minute Web-based presentations on the new Hawaii product. Seminars are scheduled for July 17 at 11 am on July 22 at 1 pm. Participants from both sessions will be entered into the drawing on July 23 and the winning agents will be notified that day. They will receive confirmation of their mariner stateroom 90 days prior to departure.
To register for the seminars, agents should visit www.amsafari.com,; go to the Travel Agent section and follow the normal reservation process, then specify one of the two presentations that are available only to Hawaii destination specialists. Information: 888/862-8881.

NCL’s Norwegian Sky Returns To Miami For Short Cruises
NCL’s Norwegian Sky returns to Miami and will begin sailing three and four-day Bahamas cruises on Monday, July 14, 2008.  The ship recently underwent a two-month wet dock in Freeport, Bahamas and now features a casino and NCL’s Freestyle 2.0 enhancements, the company’s fleet-wide initiative to further improve the guest experience across all guest touch points from food and beverage to staterooms. “NCL pioneered the first Bahamas cruise from Miami more than 41 years ago and last had a ship in the three and four-day cruise market from Miami in 2003. By reintroducing Norwegian Sky and positioning the ship in Miami sailing short cruises to the Bahamas, we are returning to our roots,” said Colin Veitch, NCL’s president and CEO. 

June 26, 2008

New Rand Study Finds Increase In Piracy At Sea

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‘MS Eurodam Officially Delivered To Holland America Line
Holland America Line and its parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc, officially accepted delivery of its newest ship, ms Eurodam, in a formal handover ceremony near Venice, Italy, on June 16.  The 2,104-guest ship, built at Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard, is the 14th ship in the premium line’s distinguished fleet and the first in its Signature-class series.  
The Eurodam will arrive in Southampton, England, on June 27 to begin a series of introductory events for past guests, travel sellers, media and local officials.  She then sails to her homeport, Rotterdam, arriving June 29 for three days of festivities including a naming ceremony with Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands officially dedicating the ship on July 1.

Royal Caribbean & NCL Reveal Latest Innovations On Their Futuristic Megaships
Steeped in a philosophy that innovation and imagination contribute to a remarkable cruise vacation, Royal Caribbean once again raised the bar with the announcement of the latest amenities on its first Genesis Class ship, Oasis of the Seas at a press gathering in New York this month. 
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) also revealed to a media gathering in Las Vegas its vision for the future of nighttime experiences at sea designed specifically for its two next generation of Freestyle Cruising ships, yet unnamed but for now known as the F3 Project, set to debut in 2010.  From Riviera chic and Ibiza style to Miami trendy and Vegas flair, the nightclubs on NCL’s new F3 ships will create never-before-seen experiences at sea and feature multiple uses for day or night, along with exclusive, adult-only venues. Click New Ships for the details.

Gambling To Be Allowed On Cruise Ships While Docked At Bermuda Ports
The Bermuda government announced this month that cruise ships will be allowed to open late-night casinos in port after the Bermuda Cabinet approved a plan aimed at fighting off increasing competition from rival cruise destinations. Premier and Tourism Minister Ewart Brown announced the decision in the House of Assembly as one of a number of alterations to cruise ship legislations. According to the Bermuda paper The Royal Gazette, the Premier said ships would now be allowed to open bars and signature shops and "provide full entertainment inclusive of the opening of casinos after 10 p.m. while in port".
He also added that cruise lines would in return be required to contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to on-Island activities such as the Bermuda Music Festival and Harbour Nights.
Opinion over gambling has long divided the Island, and the recent decision most likely exacerbate opposition to gambling on board the ships—a move that could possibly open the way to gambling being allowed on the island in local venues.
As well as allowing casinos on cruise ships, the Bermuda Cabinet has also approved a proposal to waive the $14 ship cabin tax for Hamilton and St. George's for three years from 2009.
Dr. Brown is reported as saying that the Norwegian Cruise Line has committed to pay $150,000 a year to the Bermuda Music Festival and provide entertainers for Harbour Nights in Hamilton, produce an on-Island dining brochure distributed to all its cruise guests, and donate a total of $275,000 to the Bermuda Heritage Museum and St. George's Foundation. Negotiations are underway with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.
But dissenters point out that the decision raises legal issues since Bermuda outlaws gaming houses. “It also raises the question of double-standards since the Government moved aggressively a few years ago to shut down the use of gaming machines around the Island," said an opposition leader.

Hurtigruten Pulls Ship From Antarctica
The Nordnorge is being redeployed from Antarctica to service the Norway coast this season. The move was made to supplement the Hurtigruten fleet of 11 ships that service the Norway Coast on the Coastal Voyage itineraries. The company is selling one of the coastal vessels but as this time, no decision has been made as to which ship will leave the fleet. All passengers affected by this schedule change are offered a switch to the expedition ship Fram or a refund. 

Cunard Line Partners with The Royal Astronomical Society
Cunard has announced a new partnership with The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) onboard its trio of famed luxury ocean liners, Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and QE2. Poised to become a highlight of Cunard Insights, the Line's award-winning enrichment program, the RAS partnership begins this summer with RAS Fellows joining 15 voyages on such popular itineraries as Queen Mary 2's transatlantic Crossings and Caribbean voyages, and Queen Victoria's Mediterranean sailings. RAS will offer custom night sky displays of constellations and star navigation instruction, and highlight astronomical points of interest using the SkyScan software in the only planetarium at sea onboard Queen Mary 2. Nighttime Star Parties on deck, informal discussion groups and formal lectures with leading astronomers, will also be distinguishing features of this first-at-sea program.

Spa Chef Jacky Oberti To Host Wellness Culinary Program For Silversea Guests
Silversea Cruises, through its partnership with Monte Carlo's Societe des Bains de Mer, has lined up renowned spa chef Jacky Oberti to host a wellness culinary program aboard Silver Whisper's July 5, Athens-to-Venice cruise.
Chef Oberti presides over the kitchens of L'Hirondelle, the gourmet restaurant at Les Thermes Marins, the celebrated spa and fitness center that serves the well-heeled guests of both the Hotel Hermitage and the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo.  At L'Hirondelle, Oberti, a trained nutritionist and native of southern France, uses only the freshest local ingredients to serve up a healthy, low-calorie cuisine with a delicious Mediterranean flair.
Oberti will present his unique gastronomic style and cooking methods in the ship's demonstration culinary theater.  Custom-designed by Viking Range Corporation, the theater is equipped with state-of-the-art induction stove, sophisticated convection-microwave oven and Viking professional-caliber cookware, cutlery and countertop appliances -- plus a large rear projection screen so guests can easily view different cooking techniques and utensils.  

US Maritime Administration Sells Two Cruise Ships       
The US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration has sold two small cruise vessels, the Cape May Light and the Cape Cod Light, to Voyager Owner, LLC, and Discover Owner, LLC, respectively.  The new owners are Delaware limited liability companies located in Florida. The Maritime Administration took possession of the two ships after their original owners, subsidiaries of American Classic Voyages, defaulted on loans that the Maritime Administration had guaranteed.
The ships will be registered in the United States, and the new owners plan to sail them under US registry.

NCL University First To Offer Up To 15 CLIA Credits Online
Continuing its commitment to Partnership 2.0, NCL Corporation (NCL) announced that it has launched NCL University (NCL U), the first-of-its-kind online travel partner networking and education community, where travel partners can earn Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) credits, become certified in NCL’s Freestyle Cruising, get the latest information on NCL cruises, share selling tips and compare success stories via online classes, videos and blogs.  Travel partners can access NCL U by logging on to www.ncluniversity.com. “With the youngest fleet in the industry delivering the enhancements of NCL’s Freestyle 2.0; with the business efficiency of Partnership 2.0 kicking in; and with the sleek, futuristic innovations of the F3 ships on the horizon; travel partners will discover that a brand new NCL is here,” said Colin Veitch, NCL’s president and CEO, who also serves as the chancellor for NCL U.  “It is more important than ever for NCL to provide a valuable resource to our travel partners 24/7 and NCL U allows them to stay connected, learn more about us and also interact with each other.”
NCL U is the only online travel partner education site offered by a cruise line that allows partners to earn up to15 CLIA credits toward ACC and MCC certification by completing the course, as well as earn Freestyle Certification.  The program was developed in coordination with Dr. Marc Mancini, the person behind many of the industry's biggest training programs.
In addition to education opportunities, NCL U also offers travel partners an online community where they can post their profiles, read a blog written by NCL executives and pose questions to experts.  As travel partners experience the site, they can also earn points and participate in contests to win prizes and giveaways such as free cruises, Nintendo Wii games and more. 

Resident Artist And Photographer Program Debuts Aboard Silversea Expeditions
Silversea Expeditionss kicked off its new Resident Artist and Photographer Program aboard Prince Albert II's June 12 inaugural sailing from London to Tromso, featuring Sharon K. Schafer as its first artist in residence. 
Camille Seaman has been selected as the resident photographer for the following series of expeditions, starting from Tromso on June 30 and concluding in New York on August 25.  Seaman is an award-winning photographer best known for her evocative polar images. Her work has been exhibited and published in magazines internationally.  She often teaches workshops on photography and self-publishing. "We're launching this program to further enhance the expedition experience for our guests," said Conrad Combrink, Silversea's director of expeditions. "We're thrilled to be able to welcome such high-caliber talent as Ms. Schafer and Ms. Seaman to our expedition team for these voyages."
As a host of the Resident Artist and Photographer Program, Seaman will lead art and photography workshops and lectures aboard Prince Albert II and accompany guests ashore to share their unique perspectives.  On field explorations, they will offer expert guidance and share tips on photographic strategies for capturing the beauty and essence of the natural world.  Using a camera and hydrophone, they will record the fascinating underwater environment and share these images with guests during special evening presentations.
The photographers will also photograph and videotape each expedition.  Guests will receive a complimentary collection of these photos on a CD.  A special DVD will be available for sale containing a digital slide show, interactive map and video footage of the voyage.  All of the proceeds from the sale of the DVDs will be contributed to the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation to support their work in environmental conservation.

P&O And Aker Yards Sign Letter of Intent To Build Largest Channel Ferries
Aker Yards and P&O Ferries have signed a letter of intent for building two large car-passenger ferries. The total contract price for both vessels would be approximately 360 million euros. The vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2010 and 2011 respectively
Becoming the largest ferry in the English Channel means a 49,000 gross-ton vessel with the length of 210 meters, could carry 1,500 passengers and have 2,700 lane meters of vehicle space.
P&O Ferries is a new customer to Aker Yards, but they are operating four vessels built by the company, so they have already solid experience of our products.
 Aker Yards, Cruise & Ferries, consisting of three yards in Finland and two in France, has today a total of 13 passenger vessels in the order book, six of which are ferries.
As one of the world's two largest cruise ship builders and the leading ferry builder, the

NCL Offers Flexible Freestyle Cruise Rewards Program
In line with Freestyle Cruising, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Freestyle Cruise Rewards program offers freedom and flexibility for both guests and travel partners, making it unique and unmatched within the cruise industry.
While sailing on an NCL ship, guests can book a future NCL cruise with a one time $250 refundable deposit that holds the entire stateroom and instantly earn a $100 on-board credit to use on their current cruise. Freestyle Cruise Rewards allows guests the opportunity to secure a stateroom on a future cruise and sail whenever and wherever they want without having to choose a specific ship, sailing date or stateroom category and without having to provide guest names.
Freestyle Cruise Rewards are transferable and available in four world currencies – the British pound, the Euro, and the Canadian and US dollar.  By purchasing a Freestyle Cruise Reward, guests have 12 months to book the cruise and 30 months to sail.
For travel partners, Cruise Rewards make booking easier and more efficient.  Travel partners are notified when one of their clients books a Freestyle Cruise Reward on board. When the guest is ready to finalize their plans, they can have their travel professional confirm the reservation.  Travel partners will receive full commission on the reservation.

New York’s Circle Line Introduces Cocktail Cruises
Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises has introduced "New Yorkers for New York" happy-hour cruises that will also raise money for a local charity. This weekly trip is designed for locals, with a hometown cause and two bars serving summer cocktails. The cruises will board at 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays June 18 through Aug. 27 and sail from 6 to 8 p.m. The $27 ticket price includes one complimentary cocktail or other beverage, and a $5 donation to Food Bank For New York City. The Food Bank for New York City procures and distributes food through more than 1,000 emergency and community food programs, assisting the approximately 1.3 million New Yorkers who access emergency food. Later this year, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises will introduce its first-ever new vessel to its 63-year-old fleet. Circle is planning a christening ceremony on Sept. 17. For more information, call 212-563-3200 or visit www.CircleLine42.com.

Last US Liberty Ship May Go To Greece
US Maritime Administrator Sean T. Connaughton signed a Memorandum of Understanding with representatives of the Government of Greece this month to pursue an agreement to transfer the Liberty ship Arthur M. Huddell to the Greek government for use as a museum. The World War II-era Huddell is the last Liberty ship in the Maritime Administration's fleet. It is currently moored in the James River Reserve Fleet site at Fort Eustis, Virginia. "It is great to be able to save a bit of history from both our nations," said Connaughton. "This ship is a symbol of the friendship as well as mutual maritime interests linking Greece and the United States."
American shipyards built 2,751 Liberty ships during World War II, in the largest shipbuilding effort in history. Liberty ships crewed by merchant mariners carried troops and military cargo all over the world. The building and sailing of the Liberty ships, and their successors, the Victory Ships, were overseen by the U.S. Maritime Commission and the War Shipping Agency, both predecessor agencies of today's Maritime Administration. After World War II, Greek shipowners purchased many Liberty ships to build up their fleet. The Greek merchant fleet is now considered the largest in the world.
Two other Liberty ships formerly in the Maritime Administration's National Defense Reserve Fleet, the John W. Brown and the Jeremiah O'Brien, are currently operating as museum ships. While other redesigned and repurposed Liberty ships remain in service, none remain in service in the form they had in World War II. Nonetheless, their use was once so common that the term "Liberty-size cargo," meaning 10,000 tons, may still be heard in the shipping business. 

P&O Cruises To Partner With Sit Down Comedy Club
P&O Cruises/Australia aims to have its passengers rolling in the aisles – with laughter – thanks to an exclusive partnership with the Sit Down Comedy Club, which will bring some of Australia’s most talented comedians onboard to join its entertainment line-up in 2008. The move represents the first time the cruise line has partnered with an outside comedy company to bring the intimate experience of true comedy club-style entertainment onboard.
P&O Cruises launched the late night comedy program on Pacific Dawn this month, transforming The Dome nightclub into an intimate comedy club-style venue to allow passengers to interact with well-known funny man Mark McConville.
Held on select cruises on Pacific Dawn throughout 2008, the comedy club nights will also launch on Pacific Sun in September.
As an added bonus, once they return to dry land passengers will receive free entry to any Sit Down Comedy Club in Queensland and northern New South Wales and the Laugh Garage in Parramatta on presentation of their P&O Cruises Australia cruise card.

Deilmann Cruises & Great Rail Journeys Expand Joint Efforts On River Trips
Peter Deilmann Cruises and Great Rail Journeys are expanding co-operation with a 2009 brochure that includes rail travel to connect with European river trips. The program combines first-class rail travel with cruises starting in Lyon, Paris, Prague, Potsdam, Amsterdam and Basel. More than 25 departure dates between April and October are featured with fares starting at £1,375. Julian Appleyard, product development manager at Great Rail Journeys, pointed out that cruising through rail trips are becoming popular. The partnership with Peter Deilmann Cruises will ensure that Great Rail Journeys are able to further develop this growing area of our business, he added. 

UK Celebrity Myleene Klass Chosen As Godmother For ‘Carnival Splendor’
British celebrity Myleene Klass, a chart-topping musician, singer and television personality, is to be godmother of the new Carnival Splendor and officially name the newest Fun Ship of the world’s largest cruise line in Dover, England on July 10, 2008. At 113,300 tons and carrying up to 4,914 passengers, the Carnival Splendor will be the largest passenger ship ever to sail from the Kent port chosen for this summer’s UK inaugural voyage departures.
The naming ceremony will also mark another first with Carnival emphasizing its choice of Britain to launch the Carnival Splendor by dispensing with, for the first time ever, the traditional champagne and using the highly acclaimed Nyetimber English Sparkling wine to smash against the hull.
Myleene Klass is a classically trained musician and singer who has achieved enormous success on both the pop and classical charts in the U.K.  She is also a tremendously popular TV presenter who has hosted numerous high profile British TV shows and currently hosts “The Screening Room” on CNN International, as well as the British radio program Classic FM Breakfast Show. 

NCL Announces Latest Enhancement To Partnership 2.0
NCL Corporation (NCL) announced that it has put into place an electronic co-op marketing reimbursement plan, “e co-op,” which further expands Partnership 2.0, the company’s major travel partner initiative that was announced in December.
Partnership 2.0 involves major changes to the way NCL does business to strengthen its relationships with travel partners, at all levels. The initiative has been driven by quantitative and qualitative feedback from travel partners and has been enabled by Apollo’s billion dollar investment in NCL and Star Cruises continued commitment and vision.
The “e co-op” plan now automates marketing reimbursement contracts, back-up and check processing, in turn creating a trackable, efficient and paperless process.  This plan allows co-op reimbursements to be paid five weeks earlier than in the past.  This time can be cut shorter if the travel partner opts to receive funds electronically (begins mid-summer).  “This innovation revolutionizes the old co-op model, allowing our valued travel partners to receive their co-op payments in a timelier manner,” said Colin Veitch, NCL’s president and CEO.  “This key upgrade to our Partnership 2.0 initiative shows how committed we are to the ongoing enhancement of our travel partner’s experience with NCL.”
Partnership 2.0 enhancements completed and implemented to date include:
-- Resolution Desk: comprised of a cross-functional team with diverse backgrounds who are fully empowered to resolve travel partner issues or concerns.
-- Group Commissions: NCL is processing group commissions five weeks earlier with processing commencing seven days prior to sailing.
-- Reservation Agent Knowledge:  All NCL reservation agents have received additional training on policies, pricing, promotions and products.
--Improved Credit Card Policies:

Hebridean International Cruises joins ACE
Hebridean International Cruises has joined the Association of Cruise Experts (ACE). As part of the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA), ACE is dedicated to providing expert cruise training and support for travel agents.  Membership will allow Hebridean International Cruises to further enhance its promotion, highlighting their exclusive features and distinguishing attributes, to ACE’s database of 7000 agents through their education, training and marketing programs.
Setting the benchmark for luxury cruising since 1989 Hebridean International Cruises features some of the finest journeys around the Mediterranean, Caribbean, South Africa, Indian Ocean and Western Islands of Scotland on one of two small, five star luxury cruise ships – Hebridean Spirit and Hebridean Princess. Guests enjoy the highest standards of luxury cruise ship accommodation on a truly all-inclusive basis, together with a level of service from an almost forgotten era. 
In-line with their recently launched Private View positioning, Hebridean International Cruises have introduced flights onboard their private charter from the new private Inflite Terminal at Stansted – a service no other cruise company currently offers. 

NCL To Offer Nintendo’s Wii Fit™ On Its Ships
Norwegian Cruise Line continues its successful partnership with Nintendo of America Inc. by getting physical at sea with the highly anticipated a revolutionary new fitness game on Wii™ designed to make fitness fun. Wii Fit will be available fleet-wide on NCL’s 12 Freestyle Cruising ships for play in the atrium on two-story high video screens, on most ships, as well as other areas on board.  Instruction will be led by NCL crew, trained by Nintendo, who will also facilitate contests and tournaments to encourage active participation.
Wii Fit utilizes the Wii Balance Board™, a new accessory that connects wirelessly to the Wii console, which serves as the centerpiece for more than 40 fun activities across four fitness categories: Yoga, Aerobics, Strength Training and Balance Games. Helpful virtual trainers coach users through the different activities and make suggestions for improvement.

Gray Line of Seattle Adds Second Open Top Coach City Tour Route
Gray Line, based in Seattle—a key cruise hub on the Pacific Coast— is adding a second open top coach. Gray Line’s Double Decker fleet now consists of two open top and two closed top Double Deckers that circulate on the popular hop-on, hop-off city tour. “Demand for the Double Decker tour is strong because it’s a convenient way to tour the city on your own schedule,” said Josh Krohn, Gray Line of Seattle’s tour manager. “People enjoy sitting outside on the open deck in all weather. It provides a great perspective of the city.”
Visitors can tour the city at their own pace by hopping on and off the coach at their choice of locations.  The Double Decker coaches circulate among seven central locations in Seattle: the downtown shopping district (Sheraton Hotel), Warwick Hotel in Belltown, Seattle Center/Experience Music Project (EMP)/Space Needle, Bell Street Pier/ Odyssey, Seattle Waterfront/ Argosy Cruises/Tillicum Village, Pioneer Square and Pike Place Market.
Tickets for the city tour can be purchased on the bus, online at www.graylineofseattle.com  or Gray Line’s sales locations around the city, including the new tour desk in the lobby of the Space Needle.  Tickets are $19 for an adult and $9.50 for children. Advance reservations are not required. Tours run between 9:00am and 6:00pm every day. A ticket is good for two consecutive days giving visitors time to explore all the sights at a leisurely pace.  The entire narrated loop takes one hour. For a route map of the Double Decker tour, visit http://www.graylineseattle.com/pdf/DD_map_web.pdf .
Gray Line of Seattle is operated by Holland America Line.

Carnival Corporation & Plc Reports Second Quarter 2008 Earnings
Carnival Corporation & plc reported net income of $390 million, or $0¬.49 diluted EPS, on revenues of $3.4 billion for its second quarter ended May 31, 2008. Net income for the second quarter of 2007 was $390 million, or $0.48 diluted EPS, on revenues of $2.9 billion.
Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO Micky Arison said that second quarter results were better than the guidance provided in March 2008 due primarily to stronger than expected revenue yields and lower than expected cruise costs.             “Our North American and European brands continue to perform well in the current difficult economic environment and we were pleased with our second quarter results. We enjoyed strong revenue growth supported by solid cost controls, however higher fuel prices cost the company $158 million, or $0.19 per share, during the quarter,” Arison said.
Key metrics for the second quarter of 2008 compared to the prior year were as follows:
-- Net revenue yield (revenue per available lower berth day) for Q2 2008 increased 7.3 percent (3.7 percent on a constant dollar basis). Gross revenue yields increased 7.6 percent.
-- Excluding fuel, net cruise cost per available lower berth day (“ALBD”) for Q2 2008 decreased 1.1 percent on a constant dollar basis primarily due to lower selling and administrative costs.
-- Including fuel, net cruise costs per ALBD increased 10.8 percent (7.2 percent on a constant dollar basis). Gross cruise costs per ALBD increased 10.3 percent.
-- Fuel price increased 59 percent to $530 per metric ton for Q2 2008 from $333 per metric ton, and was in line with the company’s March 2008 guidance of $528 per metric ton.
During the second quarter, the company successfully introduced AIDA Cruises’ 2,050-passenger AIDAbella in Germany and P&O Cruises’ 3,076-passenger Ventura in the UK, as part of its planned strategy of expansion in the European marketplace.
Occupancy levels for advance bookings for the next twelve months are in line with the prior year, with ticket prices for these bookings at higher levels. “Despite the current difficult economic environment, our booking trends continue to be solid. Consumers continue to plan leisure travel but appear more cost conscious placing greater emphasis on finding more economical options. A cruise vacation is an attractive alternative for those seeking the most value for their vacation dollar,” said Arison. “However, the impact of skyrocketing fuel prices on our operating results has overshadowed the revenue yield improvement we have experienced.” 
Primarily as a result of changes in currency exchange rates, the company now forecasts a 4.5 to 5.5 percent improvement in net revenue yields for the full year 2008 compared to 2007, versus March 2008 guidance of an increase of 5.5 to 6.5 percent.
The company continues to expect net cruise costs excluding fuel for the full year 2008 to be down slightly on a constant dollar basis, although it expects a modest increase in cruise costs for the remainder of the year compared to the previous guidance. However, based on current spot prices for fuel, forecasted fuel costs have increased $224 million, or $0.27 per share, since the previous March guidance. For the full year 2008 fuel expense is now forecast to increase by $752 million compared to 2007, which reduces full year 2008 earnings by $0.92 per share. Taking all the above factors into consideration, the company now forecasts full year 2008 earnings per share to be in the range of $2.70 to $2.80 compared to its previous guidance of $3.00 to $3.20.
For the third quarter of 2008, net revenue yields are expected to increase approximately 4.0 percent (approximately 1.0 percent on a constant dollar basis). Net cruise costs excluding fuel for the third quarter 2008 are expected to be up modestly on a constant dollar basis. Based on current spot prices for fuel, third quarter 2008 fuel expense is expected to increase by $241 million compared to 2007, which reduces earnings by $0.30 per share. As a result, the company expects earnings for the third quarter of 2008 to be in the range of $1.56 to $1.58 per share, down from $1.67 per share in 2007.

Cruise Lines Continue To Increase Fuel Surcharges
With no immediate end in sight for escalating fuel charges, several cruise lines have increased the fuel surcharges charged passengers. The latest include
Voyages of Discovery—For all summer and fall 2008 and winter 2008/09 cruises, a $15 per person surcharge will apply to all new booking effective no. The surcharge is capped at 28 nights. This is the second increase in two months for the cruise line.
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has announced that, due to the rising cost of fuel, it has become necessary to increase the current fuel surcharge on all new bookings for cruises departing up to and including 16th April 2009 made on or after 10th June 2008.   Bookings confirmed prior to that date will not be affected. The supplement will be £5.00 per person per night for the first two occupants of a cabin, and £2.00 per person per night for the 3rd and 4th occupants of the cabin. The supplement will be capped at a maximum of £90.00 per person per cruise.
Crystal Cruises has hiked its fuel surcharge by $5, to $12 per passenger, per day, starting with all new bookings made on or after June 23.
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has announced a new fuel supplement on cruises from summer onwards featured in its new 2009/2010 first edition brochure. This charge will be £4.00 per person per night for the first two passengers in a cabin, up to a maximum charge of £80 per cruise; and £2.00 per person per night for third and fourth passengers in the cabin up to a maximum charge of £40 per person per cruise. The supplement will apply to all new bookings on cruises featured in the Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Worldwide 2009/2010 first edition brochure (with the exception of cruises also featured in the Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Worldwide 2008/2009 3rd edition brochure, which will maintain the £5.00 per person per night supplement). This charge will be effective from July 1 and will apply to all new bookings. Potential customers are therefore urged to confirm their bookings before July 1 in order to avoid this increased charge.    

Onboard Airline Check-in Service Adds Convenience To a Disney Cruise
Disney Cruise Line is offering guests a hassle-free vacation experience by providing extra services, such as Disney's Magical Express, that help eliminate some of the stresses of family travel. Now guests sailing with Disney Cruise Line find that their vacation experience has been made even easier with the introduction of Onboard Airline Check-In. This service will allow qualified guests to check-in for their post-cruise flights while on board the Disney Magic or Disney Wonder, eliminating the need to do so at Orlando International Airport.
Guests participating in Onboard Airline Check-In enjoy the ease and convenience of not having to collect their luggage upon debarkation--checked luggage is transported directly from the ship to the guest's flight. While on their cruise, guests' boarding passes are delivered to their staterooms the day prior to disembarkation. Upon the ship's return to Port Canaveral, participating guests can proceed directly to Customs and then to Orlando International Airport where they bypass check-in and continue straight to airport security and on to their assigned departure gate.
In order to take advantage of this service, guests need to meet certain requirements and be booked on a domestic flight on one of seven participating air carriers: AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, Northwest Airlines, or United Airlines/Ted. Eligible guests are able to enroll for Onboard Airline Check-in by completing pre-registration information received at Orlando International Airport or one of the Disney Cruise Line Hospitality Desks at the Walt Disney World Resort and turning it in during check-in at Port Canaveral.

Seabourn Names Master Of Newbuild ‘Seabourn Odyssey’
The Yachts of Seabourn’s has announced the the Master of its Seabourn Odyssey, which will debut in 2009, will be Captain Karlo Buer.  Captain Buer will be assigned to duty at the Mariotti shipyard in Genoa, Italy in early 2009, where he will supervise his senior officers as they familiarize themselves with the state-of-the-art vessel during its completion. On delivery, he will assume command of the yacht, steering Odyssey through its launch and into its maiden season. “We are delighted to place Seabourn's newest vessel in the hands of such a talented and experienced master, and anticipate smooth yachting for the Odyssey under Captain Buer's command," said Pamela Conover, president and CEO of Seabourn.
A native of Oslo, Norway, Buer first went to sea on freighters in 1970 at the age of 16, on a whim. He has worked for various cruise lines over the years including Royal Viking Line and Exploration Cruise Line.
Buer joined Seabourn in 1989 as the supervising captain on the construction of the fleet's second yacht, Seabourn Spirit. When the vessel launched, he took a shoreside job in Seabourn's Oslo office for a year or so, and then returned to sea as captain of the Spirit beginning in the summer of 1991. He has subsequently captained Seabourn Pride and Seabourn Legend.

Seatrade To Hold All-Asia Conference & Exhibition In Shanghai This October
The Port of Shanghai will host the Seatrade All Asia Cruise Convention in October at its International Cruise Terminal. The three-day event will be held October 23 to 25, 2008. The theme will be the emergence of Asia as the next major growth area for cruises, not only by providing new destinations for passengers in the West, but also by becoming a source of cruisers.
With a population of almost 4 billion, Asia stretches from Turkey in the west to Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsular in the east and beyond, spanning 11 time zones from one end to the other. Fold in Asia Pacific as well, and in area, it is almost double the size of all the leading cruise theaters together.
Asia has traditionally been a seasonal cruise market running from September to April, with operators looking to base their ships elsewhere during the European winter. Exotic Asian ports are also a popular draw on world voyages which are currently experiencing a renaissance. Deployment of dedicated vessels in the region is driving growth and sustainability.
The Seatrade All Asia Cruise Convention will examine the needs of the cruise ships operating in the region, from supply to ship repair and discussing Asia’s future potential in cruise ship building and conversion. Accompanying the conference will be an  exhibition for the trade (October 23-24) and the general public (October 25). Ports, destinations, tourist boards, cruise ship suppliers and shipbuilders will be showcasing their latest offerings in the brand new, state of the art Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal. Website: http://www.seatrade-global.com/Asia_Cruise_convention/index.html

Costa Beats Last Year’s Historic “One Million” Booking Mark By Five Weeks  Costa says that it has beat last year’s historic record of booking one million guests five weeks earlier in 2008 than in 2007. The record was reached on June 10, 2008, exactly 37 days earlier than in 2007 when Costa booked its millionth guest of the year on July 17. The achievement was a first for the company, which had never carried as many guests in a 12-month period over its 60 year history and is a record for the European cruise industry as a whole.
Costa expects to end 2008 with a 6 percent increase of total guests compared to the 1,100,000 who took a Costa cruise in 2007. This rise is in line with the extra capacity offered this year (and generated by the year-long availability of the flagship Costa Serena, which entered service in May 2007). The company’s next objective is to reach 1.5 million total guests in 2010, which amounts to growth in excess of 35 percent in just three years. This prestigious new goal is supported by a major fleet-expansion program, comprising five new ships due for delivery by 2012, all built in Italy by Fincantieri and entailing a total investment worth 2.4 billion euros.  The addition of these new ships will lead to a 50 percent increase in the capacity of the fleet, which will be 17-strong by 2012 with berths for 46,400 guests. This expansion is also mirrored by the exclusive new itineraries introduced by Costa, the first operator in the world to market cruises in the Far East with departures from China, in the UAE from Dubai and in the Indian Ocean with departures from Mauritius.

Daniel Thiriet Appointed To Seachefs
Daniel Thiriet, long term Managing Director of Scylla Tours AG in Basel/Switzerland, moves to Seachefs at the end of 2008, where he will manage the Swiss branch. He succeeds Axel Bergmann, who is relocating to Hamburg to take over the position from Wolf-Rüdiger Kratzmeir as Business Manager. Kratzmeir, who will retire in March 2009, will act as advisor to the company.
Daniel Thiriet, who managed Scylla Tours AG in Basel, Switzerland for 14 years, is a successful expert in the business of river cruises. He is one of the founders of IG River Cruise, an association of leading European river cruise shipping companies.
Seachefs, founded in 1999, specializes in complete Hotel and Ship Management solutions for cruise ships, river-going vessels, as well as ferries, and is one of the leading suppliers in this segment with offices in Cyprus, Switzerland, Holland and Germany. Website: www.seachefs.com

Scrapblog Partners With Carnival Cruise Lines For Digital Vacation Memories Scrapblog, Inc., the first web-based service for creating and sharing multimedia scrapbooks, has announced a partnership with Carnival Cruise Lines to provide its guests with a unique and easy way to share memories from their “Fun Ship” cruises. Carnival is the only cruise line to offer this on-line feature to its guests.
 Scrapblog is the latest addition to the line’s popular social networking site, www.CarnivalConnections.com, and offers cruisers an entirely new way to interact and connect though shared vacation experiences. Cruisers can add digital pictures, videos and audio to a customizable Carnival theme to create a personalized, one-of-a-kind multimedia scrapbook of their “Fun Ship” vacation. 
Five different “Fun Ship”-themed scrapblogs are available, each patterned after the line’s most popular destinations: the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico, Alaska and Europe. Scrapblogs can be shared with fellow cruisers through the Scrapblog Gallery on CarnivalConnections.com or through direct publishing on popular blogging and social networking platforms including Facebook, Blogger, Typepad, Wordpress, Flickr and MySpace.
To view the Scrapblog Gallery on CarnivalConnections.com please visit:
http://www.carnivalconnections.com/scrapblog . Launched in January 2006, CarnivalConnections.com is the cruise industry’s first social networking site and houses a variety of interactive message boards, videos and features, as well as the widely popular blog of Senior Cruise Director John Heald which has generated more than 2.5 million hits since debuting last March.

CLIA Launches New Travel-Agent Membership; Enhances Member Benefits
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) today introduced an all-new travel agent level of membership for 2008 and has enhanced its agency membership structure for its 16,000 travel agencies across North America. Registration will open on Monday, October 22. Evolving agency business models is driving a need to support all cruise sellers, including traditional storefronts, home-based businesses and host agency relationships.
Enhancements to agency member benefits include training videos converted to a DVD format, interactive CD-ROM tools, more bonus commission coupons and expedited membership kit delivery.
With the growing number of home-based and hosted agents, CLIA has developed a dynamic program to directly reach frontline agents with selling tools and opportunities. This desire to connect with a broad base of cruise sellers, combined with the input from CLIA Travel Agency Advisory Board and cruise line membership, encouraged CLIA to create a travel agent level of membership to complement the existing agency membership category. Not only will this new membership level provide agents of CLIA member travel agencies with access to CLIA’s extensive education and training programs, industry information, marketing resources and communications between CLIA and the agent, but it provides the agency itself with a competitive advantage by creating the opportunity for the agency’s cruise sellers to further enhance their selling skills and knowledge base. “Our new agent level of membership is a win-win situation for everyone involved,” said CEO and president Terry Dale.  “Agents get the tools to become even more effective cruise sellers, their agency benefits from having skilled CLIA agent members on staff, the cruise lines will see increased sales and the consumer will benefit from the professionalism and knowledge that a CLIA-member agent brings to the workplace each and every day.”
To qualify for the agent membership, the agent must be part of an active CLIA member agency. The individual agent will receive an individual and local listing on CLIA’s online travel agent locator and the listing will also reference the agent’s CLIA agency affiliation, an additional benefit for the agency itself. CLIA agent members receive a 2008 membership kit with tailored information and resources. CLIA’s travel agent membership annual dues are $99 and include such benefits as individual agent listing in the “Cruise Expert Locator” at CLIA’s website www.cruising.org
CLIA also enhanced its core travel agency membership. The primary elements of CLIA membership – such as industry recognition, training, certification, communications on industry issues and developments – will remain and new features have been added. Agency membership rates are $319 and additional benefits for 2008 include an all-new Cruise Manual CD-ROM of interactive ship and line information in addition to the standard printed Cruise Manual as well as updates of all CLIA training videos transferred to new DVD format. More benefit information CLIA’s membership program, visit www.cruising.org  or call 754-224-2200.

Carnival Launches New ‘Endless Summer Celebration’ Sale
Carnival Cruise Lines will launch a new sales promotion – “Endless Summer Celebration” – offering different weekly specials on “Fun Ship” cruises booked during the month of July. The new “Endless Summer Celebration” offers sales promotions on a wide range of three- to 12-day “Fun Ship” cruises to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico and Europe in 2008-09, with a different promotion featured each week.
 Upcoming offers for the “Endless Summer Celebration” sales event include shipboard credits; stateroom upgrades; special rates for third and fourth guests in a stateroom; holiday offers and regional savings; and discounts on a variety of fall, winter and spring departures.
The promotion is capacity controlled and not combinable with any other discount offer. Applies to new individual bookings only. Certain other restrictions apply. A special Web site, www.bookccl.com/endlesssummer, has been created where travel agents can request a collateral kit, download ad slicks, e-flyers and more.

June 9, 2008

 

Silversea's New Expedition Ship Is Dedicated In Monaco

In the heart of Monte Carlo's harbor this month, the expedition ship Prince Albert II officially joined the Silversea fleet during a naming ceremony in the presence of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco.  As in the time-honored tradition, the dedication included a blessing of the ship by H.E. Monsignor Fabrice Gallo, Prelate of the Pope of Rome. "This is a very exciting and proud day for Silversea," said Manfredi Lefebvre, chairman of Silversea. "We are extremely honored that His Serene Highness Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, has personally dedicated the ship that will bear his name.  May her many journeys of discovery always honor His Serene Highness through a commitment to responsible travel."
Fresh from a multimillion dollar renovation, the Prince Albert II  boasts the largest average size accommodations of any expedition ship.  An unmatched selection of 20 premium suites has been created especially for the discriminating traveler with 350 to 675 square feet of luxurious living space, double private French balconies or large private verandas, and additional elite amenities including butler service.  All 66 ocean-view accommodations are tastefully appointed and have private marble bathrooms with bathtubs.

Queen Elizabeth II Bids Farewell To Her Namesake Ship ‘QE2’

The Queen Conversing with Ship Officers
In recognition of Cunard's longest-serving ocean liner leaving the fleet in November, 2008  The Queen made her farewell visit to Queen Elizabeth 2 in Southampton June 2.  
The Queen began by touring the vessel and meeting many crew members, some of whom have served on board since QE2 entered service in 1969 and others who went with the ship when she was requisitioned as a troop carrier in the Falklands Conflict. Later she attended a reception and lunch on board with 300 guests, including former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher. Both the newest and longest-serving female crewmembers played a role in the visit. While on the bridge, The Queen gave a signal to Cadet Jennifer Haynes, who joined QE2 in April 2008, to sound QE2's whistle to salute Cunard's current flagship Queen Mary 2, which was also in port today and was named by The Queen in January 2004. Queen Mary 2 responded by sounding her whistle in salute of Her Majesty's visit. After disembarking, Her Majesty was presented with 55 red roses by QE2's Executive Housekeeper Roz Price Evans who is the longest-serving female member of crew; the gesture marked 55 years to the day since The Queen's Coronation.
The Queen also met nine QE2 Captains including Captain Peter Jackson who became Master of QE2 in 1973 and who took the ship to the Falklands in 1982.
QE2, the most famous ship in the world, and for 35 years the flagship of the Cunard fleet, was launched by The Queen at Clydebank on September 20, 1967 - forty years ago last year. Since then the ship has traveled over 5.6 million nautical miles, more than any other ship; has carried over 2.5 million guests; has completed 25 World Cruises; and has crossed the Atlantic 803 times. She leaves Cunard service in November 2008 prior to starting a new life in Dubai as a first class hotel and entertainment destination.

Green Award Recognizes NCL's Environmental Standards And Practices
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced that Norwegian Pearl recently received the Port of San Francisco's Cruise Ship Environmental Award.  In 2007, Norwegian Sun was honored with the same award.
 The Port's program recognizes annually those cruise ships whose on-board environmental systems help decrease air and water pollution. The three categories evaluated are air emission reduction, wastewater treatment and recycling and disposal programs for solid waste. "It's an honor for Norwegian Pearl to be recognized by the Port of San Francisco for the environmental standards and practices we have in place to protect the waters on which we sail and earn our livelihood,” said Colin Veitch, NCL’s president and CEO.  “We have shown our commitment to maintaining the highest level of environmental protection standards by using low-sulfur fuels, reducing air emissions, efficiently and effectively treating our wastewater and recycling and disposing properly of solid waste while in port.”
 The Cruise Ship Environmental Award was created by the Port of San Francisco's Cruise Terminal Environmental Advisory Committee (CTEAC).  Established in 2003, CTEAC advises the Port Commission on cruise ship-related water and air quality issues.  Committee members include regulatory agencies, environmental organizations, organized labor, community groups and maritime industry representatives.

CLIA Announces Schedule For Its Traveling Trainingfest Cities In 2008
In 2008, CLIA’s traveling two-day seminar and trade show program, TrainingFest, will visit eleven cities. They include Houston, July 10-11; Philadelphia, July 17-18; Las Vegas, July 24-25 (New for 2008); Cleveland, July 31-August 1 (New for 2008); Atlanta, August 7-8; Los Angeles, August 14-15; Toronto, August 21-22; Seattle, September 4-5 (New for 2008); Baltimore, September 11-12; Edmonton, September 18-19 (New for 2008); and Chicago, September 25-26.

Enjoy A Smooth Jazz Cruise This Winter In The Caribbean
Targeting those with a passion for music and travel, Jamieson, the former North American head of BMG Music and RCA Records, is debuting Smooth Music Cruise 2009 (http://www.smoothmusiccruise.com ) as his first in a series of combined music and travel events under the banner of Haven Entertainment.  Passengers will be treated to what amounts to a six-day backstage pass to all day and night events while sailing on Celebrity Cruises’ 1,778 passenger Celebrity Century (http://www.celebritycruises.com) which will sail from Miami on a seven day cruise January 31 to February 5, 2009 with port calls at Key West, Coco Cay (Celebrity’s private islet) and the Bahamas.
Passengers will not only attend the jam fests but be able to converse with the entertainers during the cruise, who include Heather Hedley, Boney James, Larry Carlton, Marion Meadows, Steve Cole, Mindi Abiar, Greg Adams and Acoustic Alchem. The music fest will be hosted by Larry Brown and Nick Colionne.
Rates start at $999 a person, double occupancy. To reserve, call 877-529-9729 or 00-1-617-587-6200 outside North America or visit http://www.smoothmusiccruise.com.

Regent To Offer New Customized Private-Jet & Luggage Services 
Regent Seven Seas Cruises will offer new private-jet and luggage transportation services, providing guests with customized options to avoid the restrictive schedules, tangled routings and baggage delays associated with travel aboard the largest international airlines. Regent Seven Seas recently reached an agreement with Private Jet Services (PJS) to provide guests with private-jet transportation to and from its vessels. PJS airliners can accommodate 20 to 106 guests in VIP-configured cabins with lounges, staterooms and stand-up bars. A dedicated onboard concierge accompanies every flight. PJS guests save time by departing from smaller airports closer to home and avoid time-consuming travel to meet connecting flights.
Regent is also upgrading its luggage delivery service by contracting with Luggage Free, a custom luggage-shipping and -delivery service, to provide the cruise line’s guests with door-to-door luggage shipping, avoiding the inconvenience of carrying, checking and claiming luggage – and even going through customs.
Using the service, guests make reservations online. Within 24 hours after their order is placed nationwide (six hours in New York City), Luggage Free sends a representative to the guest’s home, wraps each bag in protective covering, and transfers them to the nearest airport. The bags are placed in Luggage Free’s forward freight system, and then delivered to the guest’s destination via its airborne infrastructure. After the bags land, Luggage Free picks them up at the airport, clearing international shipments through customs. Finally, Luggage Free transfers the bags to their ultimate destination address. The process is reversed for the return trip.

Cruise Lines Readjust Fuel Supplement
In the wake of drastically rising fuel costs cruise lines are again readjusting the fuel supplement charged passengers. The cruise lines are:
Carnival Corporation brands Carnival Cruse Lines, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, and The Yachts of Seabourn will increase their current fuel supplement from $7 to $9 (USD) per person per day. The fuel supplement on third,
fourth and fifth passengers will increase from $2 to $4 (USD) per person per day.
The new fuel supplements will apply to all new bookings effective June 12, 2008.
The fuel supplements will not exceed $126 (USD) per person per voyage for the first and
second guests and $56 (USD) per person per voyage for the third, fourth and fifth guests
in a stateroom.
For bookings made from April, 21, 2008 to June 11, 2008, the fuel supplement of $7
(USD) per person per day for the first and second guests; and $2 (USD) per person per
day for third, fourth, and fifth guests will apply.
Norwegian Cruise Line will again increase its current fuel supplement. The new fuel supplement will be $11 per person per day for the first and second guests in a stateroom and $5 per person per day for any additional guests in the same stateroom, based on the guidelines below.
-- The increased fuel supplement applies only to new individual reservations made on or after June 20, 2008.
-- The increased fuel supplement applies to any group reservation booked on or after June 20, 2008.  The increased fuel supplement will also apply to group space held prior to June 20, 2008 without specific names and full confirming deposit by June 19, 2008.
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has announced that, due to the rising cost of fuel, it has become necessary to increase the current fuel surcharge on all new bookings for cruises departing up to the end of March 2009 made on or after 10th June 2008.  Bookings confirmed prior to that date will not be affected.
The supplement will be £5.00 per person per night for the first two occupants of a cabin, and £2.00 per person per night for the 3rd and 4th occupants of the cabin. The supplement will be capped at a maximum of £70.00 per person per cruise.

Holland America Line and Microsoft Introduce Onboard Digital Workshops
Guests on Holland America Line ships will be able to “show and tell” their vacation memories when the companies launch Holland America Line Digital Workshop powered by Microsoft Windows on the ms Amsterdam and the ms Oosterdam, followed by the ms Westerdam in June and the line’s new Signature-class, 2,104-passenger ship, the ms Eurodam, in July, expanding fleet wide within 18 months. Free workshops led by Microsoft-trained “techsperts” will show even the most novice camera or computer user how to take better vacation photos, make movies, edit pictures and create scrapbooks using a variety of Microsoft Windows and Windows Live services. Guests will learn how to share all their digital memories through email, blogging and social networking – so friends and family can see where they’ve been cruising even before they return home.
The program, which is complimentary and has its own dedicated space on each ship, kicks off with a 50-minute session. Called “Just Shoot Me,” the session provides tips and tricks on how to take the best pictures, and introduces passengers to onboard editing and movie-making resources available on the cruise, including Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Movie Maker.
The “Just Shoot Me” session will be followed by jargon-free interactive sessions, also 50 minutes in length, designed for smaller groups to try out the technologies themselves in a hands-on environment.
The digital workshop showcases state of the art technology provided and maintained by Microsoft – including Windows Vista-certified computers, servers, printers, scanners and a wireless network.   The workshops will also feature flat screen TVs for easy viewing of videos and “techspert” demonstrations. Guests can choose to attend all or just some of the workshops, each which will be offered at various times and days throughout each cruise.  Multiple workshops will be held every day.  In addition, one-on-one coaching, called “Techspert Time”, will also be available for over 20 hours each week.

Holland America Line Announces New Company Promotions
Holland America Line has announced several promotions within the company.
Ralph Samuels to Vice President Of External Relations, based in Anchorage, effective August 1, 2008.  An Alaska resident and legislator, Samuels will represent the interests of the company and the industry in Alaska, Hawaii and Canada with State and Federal legislators and government officials, industry trade organizations, lobbyists and community organizations. Most recently, he was an airline executive with PenAir, Alaska’s largest in-state airline. As a legislator, Samuels was elected in 2002, 2004 and 2006 to serve District 29 in the State House in the Alaska Legislature.
Gerry Topping to Senior Director, Human Resources – North America effective immediately.  In this new role, Topping will direct the development and implementation of long-range programs and services that ensure the full utilization of Holland America Line’s land-based staffing, employee and labor relations assets to achieve the company’s aggressive organizational objectives. Topping joined Holland America Line in March of 1996 and has worked as the director of human resources, land-based since that time.  Before joining Holland America Line, Topping enjoyed a rich tenure as a human resources professional having worked in an executive capacity at GENSTAR Corporation, Rhône–Poulenc Incorporated and management roles at Johnson & Johnson.
Jeff Beattie to Senior Director, Human Resources – Seagoing.  In this new role, Beattie will direct the development and implementation of long-range programs and services that ensure the full utilization of Holland America Line’s marine personnel, employee and labor relations assets to achieve the company’s aggressive organizational objectives.  This appointment is effective immediately.
Monica Desimone to director, tour accounting and administration.  In this new role, Desimone will oversee and prepare financial information for the tour companies, along with her duties as supervisor to the staff accountants within her department. This appointment is effective immediately. Desimone joined HAL in May 1999 as a Staff Accountant for Hotel/Transportation/Tour Accounting. Desimone’s last position, Controller for Tour Accounting, was the culmination of highly successful stints in 2007 as Manager, Technical Planning in the Strategic Automation group of IT.

NCL Launches Flight Assistance Hotline In Conjunction With Partnership 2.0
NCL guests experiencing flight or weather-related delays while traveling to one of the cruise line’s destinations can now relay their revised flights and accommodations via the “Flight Assistance Hotline,” an effort which is part of the company’s major travel agent initiative, Partnership 2.0. NCL representatives are available to answer this en-route hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week toll-free at 1-800-456-7179 within the United States and Canada and at 1-305-468-2029 for international calls. 
If a guest learns of a flight delay prior to arriving to the airport, they can call the hotline directly; however if they are at the airport when this occurs it is recommended to rebook the flight via the airline representative at the counter.  Guests should alert the airline that they are a cruise passenger destined to join a cruise ship.
Once the new flight arrangements have been made, guests should contact NCL’s “Flight Assistance Hotline” with the new flight information.  The hotline can also assist with rebooking hotel packages.  Rebooking charges will apply as per standard airline and hotel contracts.
The hotline is for emergency use only for unforeseen travel delays. If guests have any other questions, they should route them through their travel agent.

The Baltic Sea Region Sees Continued Growth In 2008
The activity of the cruise industry in the Baltic Sea Region has increased dramatically in recent years. Today Europe and the Baltic Sea Region are now on many cruise passengers’ ‘wish lists’, instead of the more traditional cruise destinations such as the Caribbean. This is the conclusion from a Cruise Baltic market review 2008 produced by Incentive Partners. The review compiles information from the Cruise Baltic members - the network of 10 countries and 26 destinations – to give an up to date view on the state of cruising in the Baltics. The results are very positive.
The number of cruise passengers to Baltic cities has increased by an average of 12 percent per year since 2000, and the Cruise Baltic members expect the increasing trend to continue in 2008.
Although the number of calls and turnarounds declined slightly in 2007, they are expected to increase again in 2008, says Thomas Odgaard, Incentive Partners.
Baltic destinations are filling four of the top five places of the ports, which are attracting the most passengers in Northern Europe. The most popular ports of call are: St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Stockholm and Helsinki. And Copenhagen ranks as the largest turnaround port, expecting a record breaking 147 turnarounds in 2008.
The complete Cruise Baltic Market Review 2008 can be read at www.cruisebaltic.com

Carnival To Introduce Baltimore’s First  Year-Round Cruise Program In 2009
Carnival Cruise Lines will launch the first year-round cruise program from the Port of Baltimore with seven-day cruises aboard the 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride beginning in fall 2009. The new program kicks off September 13, 2009, and encompasses two different weeklong itineraries departing Sundays from the historic Maryland port. 
Baltimore’s first year-round cruise program will feature a variety of interesting ports on two distinctly different seven-day itineraries. Exotic Eastern Caribbean departures will call at Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos; the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay; and Freeport, The Bahamas; while Bahamas/Florida departures visit Port Canaveral, Fla.; and Nassau and Freeport, The Bahamas. “We’re thrilled to introduce the first year-round cruise program from Baltimore aboard the Carnival Pride, a truly magnificent ‘Fun Ship’ that will visit a wide range of tropical destinations from one of America’s most historic cities,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO.  “Today’s consumers are more value-conscious than ever and considering that Baltimore is within a day’s drive for millions of Northeastern US residents, these new seven-day voyages provide a convenient and affordable vacation option,” he added.   

Discovery Cruise Line Announces Summer Contest for Kids
Discovery Cruise Line, which offers ferry service with cruise line amenities between South Florida and Grand Bahama Island every day of the week except Wednesdays, announced that it will award free family vacations each week from July through August 8 to a winning child under the age of 13 who has performed exceptional community service. Discovery's promotional partners include The Miami Herald, CBS Channel 4, 101.5 Lite FM, and Pelican Bay Hotel & Suites at Lucaya on Grand Bahama Island. The contest will be promoted by the media partners during June and July seeking parents and organizations to enter kids of their choice. A panel of judges will select the winners each week. Each winner will win a three day, two night vacation for the parents (two adults), the winner and one additional child at Pelican Bay Hotel & Suites. Contest rules and regulations may be found online at www.discoverycruiseline.com/specials/kidscontes t.
Discovery sails from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale to Grand Bahama Island, departing at 7:45 am and returning at 10 pm. Discovery offers same day roundtrip cruises as well as cruise and stay vacation packages at a wide selection of hotels from budget to deluxe.

Crystal Announces Business Class Air Promotion for Summer 2009 Europe Cruises
Amidst the news of recent airline service cuts and fare increases, Crystal Cruises is adding comfort and value to its 2009 air program. The luxury line is offering low Business Class air supplements from selected US gateways for all summer Baltic, British Isles and Mediterranean cruises. Upgraded service starts at only $799 one way, $1598 round trip, to the Baltic and British Isles, and $899 one way, $1798 round trip, to the Mediterranean -- up to 75% lower than unrestricted published business class fares. Business class air upgrades are in addition to Crystal's published air/sea fares, and are available from 17 U.S. gateways with cruises beginning June 18 through the end of August 2009.
In the summer of 2009, Crystal Symphony will make five seven- and 11-day cruises to the Baltic, including overnights in St. Petersburg, Russia, and one 11-day cruise around the British Isles. From June through August, Crystal Serenity will make five seven- and 12-day Mediterranean cruises departing from Barcelona, Rome, Venice and Athens.
The Business Class air promotion is capacity controlled and subject to space availability.

Celebrity Solstice Extends Inaugural Season Voyages
Celebrity Solstice will feature three additional sailings for cruisers to enjoy during its inaugural season this year. The ship will now enter service with a Thanksgiving cruise on November 23, 2008, three weeks prior to its previously announced date of December 14, followed by two additional seven-night Caribbean cruises. Each new seven-night cruise—November 23, November 30  and  December 7, 2008—will offer the same itinerary, departing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale with visits to San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Basseterre, St. Kitts.
Acknowledging that some guests booked on Celebrity Solstice's original December 14 maiden voyage may wish to switch to the new maiden voyage, Celebrity Cruises has established a two-week rebooking window from until June 12, 2008 so that guests booked on the  December 14 sailing will have the opportunity to change to the November 23 cruise without penalty, in the same stateroom or suite as originally booked, at the original fare.

Quark Announces Product & Procedure Changes for Arctic/Antarctica 2009-2010
Quark Expeditions has announced a series of product and procedural changes with regard to their Arctic and Antarctica expeditions for 2009 and 2010. They include
-- The prices of mandatory charter flights are no longer bundled into the expedition rate. Prices are listed separately on the attached Dates and Rates sheet. They are non-commissionable.
-- The new prices of adventure options are listed separately on the attached Dates and Rates sheet.
-- The commemorative photo album on DVD will now be compiled and distributed on board all ships. In 2008-2009, they will be distributed aboard on all ships, with the exception of the icebreakers.
-- Starting with the Arctic 2009 season, foul weather gear (Wetskins) will no longer be available for rental or purchase on Ioffe and Vavilov.
-- Cabin category labels have changed for Akademik Ioffe and Akademik Sergey Vavilov: Cabins formerly called “Main Deck Twins” are now called “Twins Shared Facilities”; “Upper Deck Twins” are now called “Twins Semi-private Facilities”. “Superior” cabins are now “Twin Private Facilities” and “Superior Plus” cabins are now referred to as “Superior”.
-- Passenger cabin availability has changed on 50 Years of Victory and Ocean Nova:
On Ocean Nova, Cabins 322 and 323 are no longer available to guests. Cabin 416 is now available as a twin cabin and 302 is now available as a single cabin. On 50 Years of Victory: Cabins 37 and 85 are no longer available to guests. Cabins 23 and 26 have been added to inventory.
-- The maximum number of guests who may choose the camping option on Akademik Sergey Vavilov and Akademik Ioffe is now limited to 30. Vavilov and Ioffe will be equipped with tents, sleeping mats, and sleeping bags for the full complement of campers. Note that the maximum number of campers for Ocean Nova and Akademik Shokalskiy remains at 20.
-- Overnight kayaking is no longer offered on our vessels.

May 31, 2008


Braemar’s new midsection in place
Lengthening Project Begun On Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Braemar
The Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ ship Braemar arrived at the Blohm + Voss Repair GmbH shipyard in Hamburg on May 13 for work to begin on inserting a new mid section into the vessel. The operation to cut the vessel in half was completed four days later.   The new section has been moved into place and work has now begun on connecting the forward section of the ship with the new part.
The 31.2 meter section will add accommodation for an additional 250 passengers, increasing the total passenger capacity from 727 to 977. Much of this accommodation will also include balconies, bringing the total number of cabins and suites with this facility to 70 (including the Owner’s Suite). Deck 8 will see the biggest addition to passenger facilities with a brand new Observatory Lounge, Grampian Restaurant, and pool area with two pools and a children’s pool as well.
A similar refit was completed by the shipyard on Olsen’s Balmoral earlier this year.

Project Genesis Ships To Be Named ‘Oasis Of The Seas’, ‘Allure Of The Seas’
For Royal Caribbean International new class of cruise ships, until now referred to by the code name “Project Genesis,” the name Oasis of the Seas was selected from more than 91,000 entries in Royal Caribbean’s “Name that Ship” contest, which the cruise line launched on January 18 in partnership with USA TODAY. Entrants were invited to submit two names ending in “of the Seas” that best encapsulate the universe of experiences a Royal Caribbean cruise provides guests. The contest marks the first time members of the general public, outside of the cruise industry, have been given the opportunity to name a cruise ship.
The winning combination of names, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, was submitted by George Weiser, of Livonia, Michigan. Weiser’s well-chosen names scored the highest among all contest entries considered by a panel of judges, and earned him the honor of naming not only the world’s next largest and most innovative cruise ships, but the entire class of the new ships, the Oasis-class. Weiser is joined by Jennifer Conley, of Robertsville, Missouri, who suggested Mystique of the Seas and also Allure of the Seas. Conley is also a winner in the naming contest for earning the second-highest score.      “Our customers are remarkably passionate about Royal Caribbean,” said Adam Goldstein, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “This naming contest has been a fantastic expression of their interest and commitment. We are thrilled to announce these two names and grateful to USA Today for partnering with us.”
The “Name that Ship” contest was judged by a panel of industry experts including Lauren Teton, founding partner of Name One!, which specializes in finding unique names for products and business entities; John Maxtone-Graham, maritime historian, lecturer and author of numerous books, including the latest, “Normandie: France's Legendary Art Deco Ocean Liner”; and Albert Mehrabian, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCLA and author of more than 14 books, including “Baby Name Report Card: Beneficial and Harmful Baby Names.”        
When launched in late 2009, Oasis of the Seas will be the largest and most revolutionary cruise ship in the world. An architectural marvel at sea, she will span 16 decks, encompass 220,000 gross registered tons, carry 5,400 guests, and feature 2,700 staterooms. The ship will homeport in Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  In 2010, she will be joined by a sister ship, Allure of the Seas.  Additional information is available at www.oasisoftheseas.com.

‘Seabourn Odyssey’ Hull Arrives At T. Mariotti Shipyard In Genoa, Italy

Hull being transported to Genoa
The Seabourn Odyssey arrived at T.Mariotti's quay in Genoa, Italy, on May 27. The hull, built in San Giorgio di Nogaro in the Gulf of Venice, was towed southward through the Adriatic, around the heel and up the coast of Italy to the T.Mariotti shipyard, where blocks of the yacht's superstructure have been under construction while the hull was being completed.  Final construction and fitting out of the vessel will be performed over the next year in time for the vessel's launch in June 2009.
The arrival of the hull marks a major milestone toward delivery of three intimate cruise vessels from T.Mariotti S.p.A. for Seabourn, the ultra-luxury brand of Miami-based Carnival Corporation & PLC.  The ¤200 million Seabourn Odyssey will be the cruise industry's first ultra-luxury addition in six years. "The arrival of the hull marks a significant step toward this luxury vessel's debut," said Pamela C. Conover, president and CEO of Seabourn.  "Just looking at the graceful curve of her waterline gives a hint of what's in store for luxury cruise lovers come next summer, and we are looking forward to welcoming guests on board Seabourn's exciting new yacht."
www.seabourn.com.

HAL’s ‘ms Zuiderdam’ Receives Signature of Excellence Upgrades
The ms Zuiderdam, Holland America’s first ship in its Vista-class series, came out of dry dock after undergoing three weeks of extensive renovations at the Fincantieri Palermo Shipyard in Italy. The transformation includes 34 new guest staterooms, the addition of an Explorations Café—powered by The New York Times,  a larger Pinnacle Grill restaurant, the addition of a new Pinnacle Bar, increased seating in the Lido Restaurant, and an environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art “wet cleaning machine” (for dry cleaning). “The Zuiderdam’s recent enhancements are just one more example of Holland America Line’s commitment to our Signature of Excellence,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “These changes allow us to deliver even more on our mission: ‘Through excellence, we create once-in-a-lifetime experiences every time.’ ”
In addition to the renovations, the 1,918-guest Zuiderdam will continue several much-admired Holland America Line features: the innovative Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine Magazine; the Greenhouse Spa and Salon; and a youth facility that includes the teens-only Loft.

Disney Cruise Line Returns to West Coast for Summer 2008
The Disney Magic cruise ship returned to the Port of Los Angeles this month, making it easier than ever for guests residing in Southern California to experience Disney Cruise Line’s highly popular seven-night cruises to the Mexican Riviera. The ship is on the West Coast for a limited engagement, sailing just 12 cruises this summer, but staterooms are available for select voyages throughout the season.  The ship is scheduled to sail back to Port Canaveral, Florida on August 17.  The Disney Magic is scheduled to sail 12 consecutive seven-night cruise vacations from the Port of Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera ports of Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta.   

Atlantic Alliance Welcomes First English Port Into Its Group
Hamburg. Portland Port, on the southern coast of England, has become the first English port to join forces with the Atlantic Alliance, consortium of Europe’s prime cruise destinations now spanning 16 ports ranging from Hamburg in the North to Lisbon in the South.
The Port has recently submitted plans for a Harbour Revision Order, the first stage of which it is hoped will begin later this year. It will see the development of up to 700 meters of additional berth space. The new berths will mean Portland can offer services to some of the largest cruise ships in the world. Portland currently handles around half a dozen cruise calls each year, and  thanks to its proximity to such sites as Stonehenge, Bath and the World Heritage Jurassic Coast, is looking to greatly expand on this number. The Baltic and Mediterranean regions traditionally enjoy destination status with the ports between the two regarded as transit calls for ships re-positioning. The Atlantic Alliance has made it its mission to show the Cruise Industry exactly what it is missing with this way of thinking. Top European cities including London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Madrid and Lisbon are all easily accessible from the Alliance’s member Ports and all offer cruise passengers a myriad of possible activities from shopping at the traditional Christmas markets, through historic sites, galleries and museums to world famous shows or even the chance to learn to Flamenco.
The Atlantic Alliance ports are Hamburg and Bremerhaven (Germany); IJmuiden, Amsterdam and Rotterdam (The Netherlands); Antwerp (Belgium); Portland (England); Cherbourg, St. Malo, Brest, Nantes, La Rochelle and Bordeaux (France); Santander and Vigo (Spain); Lisbon (Portugal). Website: www.atlanticalliance.eu

NCL To Offer To Offer Botoxò Cosmetic And Restylaneò Treatments At Sea
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), in partnership with Steiner Transocean, will offer BOTOX® Cosmetic, Restylane® and Perlane® facial aesthetic treatments in its Mandara-operated spas. The treatments, which are part of Mandara’s medi-spa program, are currently available on select NCL ships, including Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Spirit, with plans to launch fleet-wide this fall.
All of the facial aesthetic treatments are under the supervision of Steiner’s Medical Director, Dr. Brad Herman, a Miami-based, board-certified plastic surgeon and his team of medically-licensed doctors who have been trained specifically in the administration of these treatments. “Our spas are the best at sea and we are continually looking for ways to enhance the guest experience on board our ships,” said Colin Veitch, NCL’s president and CEO. “By being the first to offer these popular medi-spa treatments, we are furthering the tradition of NCL-led innovation in the cruise industry.”
These medi-spa treatments supplement NCL’s wide-range of skin, body, massage, and hair and nail care already available on board.  Other treatments available at sea include GoSmile Tooth Whitening, Microdermabrasion and Ionithermie Cellulite Reduction Program, a body contouring treatment instantly improving the look of cellulite.

José Iturbi Classical Music Competition Winners to Perform on Queen Mary 2
In addition to first place prizes of $50,000, the winners of The 2008 José Iturbi International Music Competition at UCLA's Schoenberg Hall (June 16-21, 2008) will present Cunard Command Performances aboard Queen Mary 2 during the April 26, 2009 Transatlantic Crossing from New York to Southampton, England, it was announced by Donelle Dadigan, president of the José Iturbi Foundation.  Cunard Line is the presenting sponsor of the competition.
Also during the voyage, Donelle Dadigan will be joined by members of the esteemed judging panel to present a series of classical music discussions and Q&As in association with Cunard Insights, the Line's award-winning Guest Enrichment Program. Guests sailing on this voyage will also hear from the winners about their experiences as young musicians competing to win the world's only weeklong competition that adds features of "American Idol" to the world of classical music.  Highlights of the 2008 Competition will be broadcast via Cunard's onboard stateroom television system. 
The José Iturbi International Music Competition gives 48 of the world's most gifted young pianists and singers the opportunity to compete for the largest cash prizes (more than $250,000) of any classical piano and singing competition worldwide. For more information about the 2008 Competition performance schedule, go online to www.joseiturbifoundation.org

‘Norwegian Majesty’ Rescues Fishing Boat Crew Off South Carolina Coast
On Saturday, May 24, 2008 at approximately 4 p.m., Norwegian Majesty departed from Charleston, South Carolina for its scheduled seven-day cruise to Bermuda, but changed its course approximately two and a half hours into the sailing after receiving a distress call from a fishing boat.
Mark Harold, the captain of the 24-foot fishing boat “Not On Call,” sent out several distress calls with no response for hours.  The boat departed from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina and was caught in a violent storm about 30 miles from shore.  After battling the storm for hours, the boat began to run out of fuel and he feared that the ship would capsize once the fuel ran out and the engine shut down. In addition, it was getting dark.
Hope returned to the crew when Norwegian Majesty answered their distress call and changed its course to assist.  At approximately 7:30 p.m., Norwegian Majesty arrived alongside the boat and all four men were rescued after they climbed up the pilot ladder on the starboard side. At approximately 8:00 p.m., with all four men safe on the ship, Norwegian Majesty continued on its voyage toward St. Georges, Bermuda.

Holland America Line Ships Feature Native Travel Guides On Alaska
Through a  partnership with Alaska Native Heritage Center, Alaska Native guides will be on board the majority of Alaska cruises on ships cruising in Glacier Bay—114 sailings in 2008. “We are very pleased at how this program has evolved,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest relations. “Our guests visiting Glacier Bay will enjoy having an Alaska Native guide on board the full cruise to provide another perspective on the land they’re visiting.”
Alaska Native Travel Guides will bring their knowledge and personal experience of local culture, history, art and flora and fauna to guests on Alaskan cruises.  They will give six to seven presentations over the course of the weeklong cruise.  Topics include wildlife, gold rush dreams, volcanoes and glaciers, Alaska’s early explorers and native people. They will provide narration throughout the trip, sell artwork by Alaska Natives, be on hand to answer questions and interact with guests one-on-one.
In addition to the Alaska Travel Guides, a Tlingit cultural interpreter from Hoonah will board ships at Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier and explain the origins of the Huna people. They will give presentations on native life and culture in the region and be available for discussions with guests.
National Park Rangers are also an important part of the Alaska interpretive program and will continue to board all ships in Glacier Bay National Park and Hubbard Glacier for narration and presentations.

Five Lucky Cruise Enthusiasts Will Travel To Las Vegas For Next F3 Reveal
For its next big reveal of the company’s innovative F3 ships, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) will whisk five lucky consumers to an exciting event in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 17, 2008 where more details of the project will be announced.  The consumers will be selected at random after having registered on NCL’s F3 web site prior to May 28, 2008. “The interest in F3 is extremely high,” said Andy Stuart, executive vice president and chief product officer for NCL. “The tremendous response of initial registrations on f3.ncl.com, which launched less than a month ago, has been incredible. We decided to surprise and reward five people who were some of the first to express interest in our innovative, next generation ships and give them the opportunity to experience the next F3 reveal in person.”
The five consumers will join NCL executives, press and travel partners in Las Vegas for the big reveal on June 17. The trip includes airfare for two and a two-night stay at Caesar’s Palace and an invitation to the exclusive event.
For the latest updates on F3 or to register to receive more information, visit www.F3.ncl.com.

           

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Cunard’s ‘Queen Victoria’ In Docking Accident

Cunard’s newest ship Queen Victoria had a mishap when docking during her maiden call at Valletta, Malta on May 14. The 90,000-ton Queen Victoria failed to stop as it was reversing into port at Valletta and hit the concrete with "some speed", causing a 20-foot dent in the stern of the ship, according to The Daily Telegraph. It is understood the throttle failed as ship maneuvered into the quay and the vessel's 1,900 passengers were left stranded as investigators assessed the damage. There were no injuries and a Cunard spokesperson said passengers would be compensated for the disruption to their cruise.
The mishap took place towards the end of the Queen Victoria's 14 day voyage which left Southampton on May 6 and stopped in Seville, Corsica and Naples, and the delay caused the cancellation of a ship call in Tunisia. She was expected back in Southampton on May 20.

New Flagship For American Safari Cruises To be Christened May 23 In Seattle
After a ten-month, $3.5 million renovation, American Safari Cruises' new luxury flagship yacht, the 36-guest, 145-foot Safari Explorer, will be christened May 23 in Seattle. Two days later, the vessel will depart for Juneau and her inaugural season in Alaska, and will relocate in the fall to Hawaii and offer inter-island cruises late December through early May.
In keeping with the company's focus on luxury in the pursuit of adventure, the Safari Explorer offers elegant accommodations for guests who want to see the waters less traveled for hiking, snorkeling, sailing, mountain biking, kayaking and wilderness exploration by shore boat. Among the new yacht's features are a wine library for tastings; suites with balconies, master bedrooms and Jacuzzi tubs, and an active spa environment with complimentary massages from a licensed masseuse, sauna, yoga classes, exercise equipment and an on-deck hot tub. The guest-crew ratio is 2 to 1, with two certified naturalists.  
American Safari Cruises has three other yachts that carry between 12 and 22 guests in Alaska, Mexico's Sea of Cortés, Pacific Northwest, Columbia and Snake rivers. Information: www.amsafari.com or 888/862-8881.

 

Ponant Cruises Confirms Order For Two New Cruise Ships
           
Two new cruise ships are being built for Ponant Cruises Few weeks after the signature of a MOU with Italy’s Fincantieri shipyards, Ponant Cruises(Compagnie des Iles du Ponant (CIP) a ), subsidiary of the CMA-CGM Group. The two vessels, to be built at Fincantieri, will measure 140 meters in length and accommodate 132 guests in all-outside cabins and suites, 95 percent with balconies.
Delivery is expected in the spring and the summer of 2010 and will be French flagged. “Our decision to expend shows our commitment to become a key actor in the international cruising industry and in particular in the small capacity upscale shipping niche where we anticipate to become one of the world leader” said Jean Emmanuel Sauvée, CEO of Ponant Cruises. “And it is combined with the growing demand from affluent travelers for upscale cruising on smaller cruise ships that we forecast both on the American and European markets.”
Three other vessels sail for Ponant— Le Ponant, Le Levant, and Le Diamant.
The vessels will be equipped with the latest advances designed to protect the environment
including a dynamic positioning system that enables them to avoid damaging the sea floor during mooring. Another key feature of the new ships will be the flexible configuration of the cabins to be able to convert up to 58 Deluxe Staterooms into 26 large suites.
Led by its founder Jacques R. Saadé, CMA CGM is currently the world’s third largest container shipping company and is ranked number one in France. Operating a fleet of 377 vessels, including 101company-owned, the Group serves 400 ports of call around the world.

Burma’s Cyclone Damages River Ships
River ships in Burma (Myanmar) are reported to have sustained extensive damage during the destructive cyclone that as devastated the country and -- at last estimate -- has killed nearly 80,000 people.
Orient Express famed vessel Road To Mandalay was one of the casualties and will be in drydock for damage assessment.
Another river company, Pandaw River Cruises reported that one of its river boats, Pandaw IV, had minor damage.

Costa Cruises Celebrates 60th Birthday With Record-Breaking Pizza Line
Costa Cruises will attempt to break the world record for the longest pizza line in Sydney’s Italian quarter next month, in a spectacle to mark the Italian cruise line’s 60th birthday. The history-making charity event will be held along Norton Street Leichhardt from 8.30am – 12.30pm on Sunday June 8, coinciding with the Viva Leichhardt Festival.
The attempt will see more than 600 freshly-cooked pizzas lining Norton Street, stretching 188 meters – the length of Costa Cruises’ ship, Costa Allegra.
At the conclusion of the event, the pizzas will be donated to local charity group OzHarvest to assist their local outreach activities, while funds raised will be presented to The Variety Club of Australia.
Ann Sherry, Chief Executive Officer of Carnival Australia, which represents Costa Cruises in Australia, said the record-breaking attempt was a fantastic way to celebrate the brand and reflected its famous Italian flair. “This will be a history-making moment and we’re looking forward to sharing it with the local community.”

NCL To Plead Guilty In 2003 SS Norway Blast
Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd. has agreed to plead guilty to a criminal charge of grossly negligent operation of a ship in connection with an explosion that killed eight crewmen on the S.S. Norway in 2003, US prosecutors said on May 2, as reported in a Reuters dispatch. The cruise line will pay a criminal fine, but the amount was not disclosed in a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office announcing the plea.
The ship was docked at the Port of Miami when a boiler exploded on May 25, 2003, killing the eight crewmen and seriously injuring 10. Many of the victims were from the Philippines.
The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that a weld on a seam of a high-pressure drum ruptured, releasing nearly 20 tons of scalding water that turned into steam and swept through the engine room and adjacent crew quarters. The NTSB said the failed system had a history of fatigue cracking, corrosion and pitting. It blamed the accident on failure to adequately maintain, operate and inspect the ship's boilers.
Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd., which is incorporated in Bermuda and has corporate headquarters in Miami, was the owner and operator of the SS Norway (ex-SS France) when the accident occurred. After the blast, the ship was removed from service. The ship currently is being dismantled for scrap  in Alang, India.
A companion civil complaint was filed against NCL (Bahamas), Ltd., a Bermuda corporation that assumed operational control of several ships that were previously operated by Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Alex Acosta, said in the news release.
NCL has agreed to assume legal responsibility for carrying out reviews under the auspices of an independent consultant, to ensure its vessels are operated safely, the U.S. attorney is quoted as saying.                                     –Reuters

Star Cruises Revamps Website To Offer Enhanced Agent Booking Tool
Star Cruises (www.starcruises.com ) has updated its website giving agents the opportunity to book cruise-only packages with the cruise line. The new function means agents can independently package a short cruise with a pre- or post-cruise stay in the Asia Pacific region allowing for tailor-made holiday options with live availability and instant confirmation. Star Cruises has reported an increase in cruise-only sales as they allow agents to book further components with increased flexibility.
In addition to the cruise-only booking platform at www.starcruises.com, Star Cruises is also available to book via Amadeus and with tour operators specializing in the Far East.
A three-night cruise-only aboard Star Cruises’ SuperStar Virgo departing Hong Kong and calling at Sanya (China) and Halong Bay (Vietnam) starts from £240 pp. Departures are available until the end of October 2008.
                                                                                    
Menacing Increase In Pirate Attacks Reports International Maritime Bureau
Pirate attacks are menacingly on the increase. Armed attacks on ships were up 20 percent in the first Quarter of 2008 compared versus first Quarter 2007, according to figures of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) - a clear alarm signal, showing how important it is for the experts to get together and deal with the problem of piracy and terrorist threats on global shipping at international level. The MS&D International Conference on Maritime Security and Defence 2008 will address this urgent problem affecting the maritime industry at its annual conference being held concurrently with the SMM 2008, the world’s leading shipbuilding trade fair, in Hamburg, Germany on September 24 and 25, 2008.

Carnival Reports Dramatic Increase In On-Line Shore Excursion Sales
Reaffirming the ease, convenience and sophistication of its comprehensive Web-based shore excursion reservations system, Carnival Cruise Lines says it is experiencing a 16 percent year-over-year increase in on-line shore excursion sales and expects that a record one million shore excursion tickets will be purchased via www.carnival.com  in 2008. And with the debut of the Carnival Splendor from Europe in July, Carnival will offer an unprecedented 1,982 shore excursion choices in 114 ports visited by its 22-vessel fleet. 
According to Carnival’s Vice President of Tour Operations Mico Cascais, on-line shore excursion sales have increased for all Fun Ship sailing regions, primarily in conjunction with Caribbean cruises, where Carnival is the industry leader, with 18 of its 22 ships deployed within the region on a year-round or seasonal basis.  Europe is popular as well, particularly with tours that visit historic attractions and museums. Other growth areas include the Mexican Rivera, Alaska, and Hawaii.  “Booking shore excursions on-line prior to sailing is not only incredibly convenient, it also offers guests a better chance of securing their tour of choice while providing peace of mind knowing their shore excursions are already reserved and paid for,” Cascais noted. 
Carnival’s shore excursions can be purchased on-line from 120 days up to three days prior to departure date.  Guests can also purchase shore excursions via the shore excursion office located adjacent to the purser’s information desk on board, as well as via interactive television systems on some ships.

MSC Cruises To Adjust Fuel Surcharge
The escalating cost of fuel throughout the world has forced MSC Cruises to increase the existing fuel surcharge on cruise fares. “We all know that international oil prices have risen rapidly over the past several months, bringing the cost of fuel, whether for the family car or a cruise ship, to record highs,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA). “To offset these unprecedented costs, we must make an adjustment to the fuel surcharge implemented late last year.” 
The current non-commissionable fuel surcharge of $6 per guest per day will be increased to $8 per guest per day ($16 per stateroom). The new surcharge will only apply to new bookings made July 1, 2008 and onwards and will be applicable only on cruise departures after December 1, 2008. 

‘AIDAdiva’ wins ShipPax Award 2008
The club vessel AIDAdiva has won the worldwide renowned innovation award ShipPax Award 2008 in the category Cruise Lounges. The award was given for the multifunctional Theatrium, the place where theater, atrium, bars and a market place melt together to form a unique spatial experience. The ample, light-flooded room
extends on 3,000 square meters over three decks. Huge glass walls create a special atmosphere and allow for a view onto the sea around the clock. The AIDAdiva bar "Pier 3" was awarded as well. The bar is located nearby the tender gates and the gangway. Guests enjoy the view on two "french balconies," situated directly above the water surface, which add to the spatial situation.
Since 1999, the Swedish publishing house ShipPax Information annually donates the ShipPax Award. It is presented in eight single categories. The prices are awarded to future-oriented shipyards and shipping companies in order to sponsor innovative passenger-ship constructions. The members of the jury are shipping experts with different backgrounds and from diverse fields. All cruise liners, ferries and roll-on/roll-off ships commissioned in the previous year are evaluated.

Passenger Reported Missing On May 8 NY-Bermuda Cruise
A 46-year-old woman was reported missing from Norwegian Dawn while the ship was embarked to Bermuda out of her New York homeport. The incident reportedly happened on May 11 around 7:50 pm in stormy waters just northeast of Atlantic City, barely three hours after the ship left her New York port.
Coast Guard helicopters searched a 59-square-mile area for seven hours today, officials said. But gale winds and heavy seas hampered the search. In addition, the Norwegian Dawn tossed life rings into the water and launched a small boat with rescue personnel.
NCL reports that surveillance cameras on board the ship showed no evidence of foul play.  The passenger, Mindy Jordan, a nurse and a mother of two children, was shown alone in her balconied stateroom before a camera showed her slipping overboard. However the images on the cameras were fuzzy and did not show what, if anything, happened during the interval between the passenger in her stateroom and minutes later falling overboard.

Carnival Rolls Out Extensive Redesign Of Popular Web Site
The Carnival.com website has undergone an extensive redesign and emerged with a host of new features, including enhanced navigation and layout, a variety of images and content, and numerous technical advancements, all designed to make users’ on-line experience easier and more informative than ever.
Highlighting the next generation of carnival.com are dozens of entertaining new videos and virtual tours, along with upgraded images and content showcasing all 22 of the line’s Fun Ships. Also included are upgrades to special sections focusing on various aspects of the Carnival vacation experience such as dining, spa, youth programs, destinations and shore excursions. 
The new and improved www.carnival.com  features an enriched Gifts and Services section that allows visitors to purchase a variety of items that can be delivered to guests’ staterooms prior to their cruise. There’s also an updated section where first-time cruisers and visitors can sign up for Carnival news and information via both email and RSS feeds.
The new site has a strong focus on enhancing end-user support, with a more detailed FAQ section, an enhanced site search engine, and live feeds featuring Carnival news headlines on virtually every page as well as offering a better platform for multimedia components such as hand-held pones and other communication devices.

MSC Cruises Introduces ‘My Teen Card’
MSC Cruises has introduced My Teen Card onboard all its ships. Targeted to the 12- to 17-year-old set, the prepaid card can be used by the holder for onboard purchases (such as sodas, gift shop items) and as a stateroom key.
Two levels of My Teen Card are available:
-- In the Caribbean:  $30 with $5 bonus = $35 card; and $50 with $10 bonus = $60 card
-- In the Mediterranean and Northern Europe:  €30 with a €5 bonus = €35 card and €50  with a €10 bonus = €60 card (one euro currently equals about $1.55).

Aker Yards Report First Quarter 2008 On Track For Improved Results
Aker Yards ASA reported an EBITDA result of NOK 211 million for the first quarter of 2008 for the continuing operations. Earnings per share (EPS) were NOK 0.38 for the quarter, compared with NOK 2.14 in the corresponding period of 2007. The first quarter figures are in line with the expectations of gradual improvement and better predictability in the results through 2008 compared to 2007.
In the first quarter of 2008, Aker Yards' continuing operations had revenues of NOK 7 471 million, an increase of 8.7 percent compared with NOK 6 874 million in the corresponding period of 2007. The EBITDA result was NOK 211 million, compared with NOK 459 million in the corresponding quarter of 2007. The EBITDA margin for the first quarter of 2008 was 2.8 percent. Earnings per share (EPS) were NOK 0.38 in the quarter, compared with NOK 2.14 in the same period in 2007. Order intake in the first quarter 2008 was NOK 870 million, giving an order backlog of NOK 61 550 million comprising 101 vessels at the end of the quarter.
While the market and the operational environment in the entire shipbuilding industry was very heated in 2007, it is now expected that the growth rate will level out. Access to qualified personnel will remain a key focus area in most of the countries in which Aker Yards operates.
During the quarter, it was announced that Aker Yards ASA will take in FLC West, a Russian owned investment company, as a 70 percent shareowner and partner in three of the yards within the business area Merchant Vessels. Aker Yards will receive EUR 291.9 million in payment from FLC West.

Hurtigruten May Sell Off Some Of Its Vessels To Stay Afloat
According to a an article posted on the Norwegian Aftenpoten website, Hurtigruten is considering selling off all its fast ferries, busses and other ferries in an effort to stay afloat. The troubled passenger and cargo shipping line has logged losses of more than NOK 600 million (about USD 120 million) over the past three years and suffers from heavy debt. The costs of massive investment in new cruiseship-like vessels operating in a high-cost environment are taking their toll.
Various restructuring programs haven't helped much so far and some analysts have called Hurtigruten a prime takeover target, if the state would allow it. Managing director Olav Fjell, a former boss of state oil company Statoil, said that the line must improve operations and reduce debt. "We must get more people on board, and get them to spend more money," Fjell told news bureau NTB. "Costs are too high. That's the reason we're looking at the possibility of selling off businesses outside our core operations."
Hurtigruten runs coastal voyages from Bergen north to Kirkenes and back again, leaving every day of the year and stopping at tiny towns and hamlets along the way.
Once a major lifeline for the remote coastal communities, it since has evolved into a cruise operation of sorts popular with foreign tourists. Hurtigruten also has expanded into far-flung cruises in the Antarctic, the Mediterranean and around Europe, redeploying vessels in line with seasonal business in Norway.      --Aftenpoten

Royal Caribbean To Restrict Infants From Cruises
While Royal Caribbean markets itself heavily to families, given its popular activities on board, the line is taking a conservative approach to tot passengers. Effective later this year, infants under the age of six months will not be welcomed on the RCI fleet of ships. Royal Caribbean is not the first to ban infants. Carnival, as well as other lines, already have a six months restriction on infants. The new policy says infants must be six months old by the first day of the sailing in order to board. On trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific, Hawaii and some South America cruises, the policy is even stricter, requiring babies to be at least 12 months old by the first day of the sailing. Cruise lines also have restrictions on pregnant passengers so best to check with the line when booking.

Windstar Cruises Increases Fuel Surcharge Through Spring 2009
Windstar Cruises, which operates a three-ship fleet of luxury yachts that explore the hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world’s most treasured destinations, will increase its fuel surcharge from $8.50 to $10.00 per person, per day for future sailings due to the continued escalation in fuel prices. The surcharge applies to all currently published sailings through spring 2009, for all new bookings, beginning May 19, 2008.

MSC Cruises Partners with Revelex Corporation
MSC Cruises has selected Revelex Corporation, a leader in travel technology solutions for agents and vendors, and Revelex’s POWER AGENT platform to distribute MSC Cruises’ travel itineraries. Using Revelex, travel agencies in the U.S. and Canada now have live and direct access into MSC Cruises’ itineraries and cabin inventory.
A web-based agent desktop application, POWER AGENT provides access to all Global Distribution Systems (GDS) and non-GDS travel products. Utilizing the platform, travel agents worldwide can now offer clients a more diverse range of cruise inventory.  Additionally, consumers can now book MSC cruise vacations using the over 2,000 agency websites offered through POWER AGENT. 
Revelex’s technology enables vendors and agencies to effectively market and sell leisure travel online and offline. Known for its strong foundation in the cruise industry, Revelex’s solutions allow travel agents to grow in their respective markets, increasing business by streamlining their travel planning, booking and tracking processes.  

Seabourn Revamps Its Website
The Yachts of Seabourn, in keeping with the impending expansion of its fleet, has completed a major overhaul of its website at www.seabourn.com. The expansion created multiple new functionalities allowing guests and travel agents to research destinations, explore options and customize Seabourn vacations on line, as well as enhancing its design.
The site contains more port descriptions, more details and more in-depth information than was previously available. Visitors can now research select ports of call to explore their cultural highlights, learn fun facts and get up-to-date insider tips about what's new and exciting in a port and its vicinity. There are even recipes for some of celebrity chef Charlie Palmer's signature dishes served on board the Seabourn yachts.
Enhanced interactivity allows booked guests to purchase pre- and post-cruise hotel stays and Seabourn Journeys land extensions, as well as certain mid-cruise overland options and shore excursions several months before departure, by adding them to the master cruise booking with simple point-and-click menus. The site also offers an easy message link to Seabourn's Signature Service Desk, with which the guests can request personalized arrangements in any of their ports of call, from a simple car and driver to local dining reservations or elaborate special events or celebrations.     
Visitors who have not yet sailed with Seabourn can explore the vessels in great detail, research itineraries and departure dates, order brochures and sign up to receive Seabourn's periodic SeaMail SM  newsletters alerting them to special offers.
Another popular feature that remains in service is Seabourn's unique Virtual Theater section, which houses a library of informational and promotional videos and virtual ship tours. Website: www.seabourn.com

Azamara Cruises Marks First Anniversary
The traditional symbol for a first anniversary is paper, and Azamara Cruises is tempted to paper the walls of its Miami offices with the accolades the deluxe brand has received since setting sail for the first time just one year ago this month. “We’re thrilled with how far we’ve come in just one year, and honored by the recognition our deluxe brand has received from our guests, our travel agent partners, and the press,” said Azamara Cruises President and CEO Dan Hanrahan. “The extraordinary staff on both Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest has worked tirelessly to ensure that every guest receives the vacation experience we’ve promised since the brand’s launch.”
 That launch officially began when Azamara Journey set sail last year, promising a more intimate onboard experience – with a capacity of just 694 guests – and access to the less-traveled ports of call experienced travelers want to visit. Azamara expanded to a two-ship fleet just five months after the brand’s launch, when Azamara Quest entered service in October 2007. Both ships previously sailed with Madrid-based cruise and tour operator Pullmantur S.A., and were acquired when Azamara’s parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., purchased the company in 2006. The ships received a $40 million overhaul prior to commencing service last year.

Louis Cruise Lines To Sell Two Cruise Ships

Louis Cruise Lines announced this month the sale of two of its older cruise ships namely MV Princesa Marissa and MV Serenade. The sale is part of the previously announced company policy for the renewal and continuous upgrading of the Louis Cruise Lines fleet.
Louis Group became interested in Sea Tourism early on in its 73 year old history. In the mid 1940s, right after the Second World War and due to the wave of migration of those times, Louis began to provide travel services for Cypriots emigrating abroad with the chartering of ships sailing to South Africa and Australia. Subsequently, the company acted as the general agent in Cyprus for the leading Greek, French and other international passenger shipping companies. These first steps and the group’s activities in sea transport constitute the foundations of Louis Cruise Lines, which started its operations in 1986 with the purchase of MV Princesa Marissa.
MV Princesa Marissa was the group’s first fully-owned cruise ship and her services led to the company’s recognition as a pioneer in developing and offering two- and three-day cruises from Cyprus to Israel, Egypt, Beirut, Syria and Rhodes as well as longer cruises to Piraeus and the Greek islands. MV Princesa Marissa had a catalytical role in placing Cyprus on the world cruising map, while simultaneously she laid the grounds for the development of Louis Cruise Lines, the 5th largest cruise operator in the world today with a leading position in the Eastern Mediterranean.
During her 22 year long service and her cruise programs out of Limassol, MV Princesa Marissa carried more than 1,300,000 passengers of all nationalities to an array of destinations in the Eastern Mediterranean. Among them, hundreds of thousands of Cypriots who had for the first time the opportunity to take a cruise for their holiday. Louis Cruises considers the sale of MV Princesa Marissa as the closing of the first chapter and the recent purchase of MV Norwegian Dream and MV Norwegian Majesty as the beginning of the second chapter of its growing company.

Cruise Industry Personnel Changes Announced
Ambassadors Cruise Group Names Diane Moore President of Windstar Cruises. 
Ambassadors Cruise Group has named Diane Moore as president of Windstar Cruises.  Moore has been serving as the Executive Vice President of Marketing, Sales, Reservations, Guest Services and Customer Relations for Windstar Cruises since 2007 after joining the company earlier in the year as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Windstar Cruises and Majestic America Line.  
Moore brings more than thirty years of experience to her role. In 2005, Moore joined Windstar Cruises, which then was a subsidiary of Holland America Line, as vice president of marketing and sales with responsibility for sales, revenue management, marketing, product pricing, yield management and other activities for the company. Prior to Windstar, she was Executive Vice President, Supplier Sales, for Virtuoso, responsible for developing marketing plans with suppliers and working closely with Virtuoso member agents. Moore has also served as Vice President, Passenger Programs for Holland America Line, and Senior Vice President, Passenger Services for both Crystal Cruises and Royal Cruise Line.
Cruise West Announces New Director Of Sales Thomas Kratsch
Cruise West, America’s has hired Thomas Kratsch to the director of sales position.  Kratsch, a ten-year veteran of the travel industry, was formerly vice president of operations at All-Travel.com.  Kratsch will be accountable for the ROI of all sales activities and initiatives as well as development and execution of new and existing sales programs and activities that generate revenue for Cruise West.
Joni L. Rein Named Vice President Of Field Sales For Carnival Cruise Lines
Joni L. Rein has been appointed vice president of field sales for Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines, the world’s largest cruise operator, and will assume her position on June 16, 2008. In this new role, Rein will oversee Carnival’s field sales efforts, particularly as they relate to its travel agent partners, who are responsible for the majority of the line’s bookings.  Rein will lead a talented team of business development managers, who work with more than 30,000 travel agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada in developing new business opportunities.
In addition to field sales, she will also oversee Carnival’s corporate and incentive sales efforts, as well as the line’s business development services department which assists travel agents with their day-to-day business needs.  Rein will report to Lynn C. Torrent, Carnival’s senior vice president of sales and guest services.
Rein has more than 20 years of sales experience, most recently serving as vice president of sales development for a Carnival sister company, Costa Cruises, at the company’s North American headquarters in Hollywood, Fla.
Byers Appointed Senior VP Of Global Human Resources For Carnival Corp.
Wayne Byers, a longtime veteran of the cruise industry, has been named senior vice president of global human resources for Miami-based Carnival Corporation & plc.         In this newly created position, Byers will be responsible for developing and implementing a corporate human resource management strategy across Carnival Corporation & plc’s worldwide organization, which includes offices in North America, Europe and Australia.   He will report to Carnival Corporation & plc’s Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Howard Frank.
Prior to joining Carnival, Byers worked at the company’s Holland America Line unit, serving as vice president – human resources on two separate occasions, from 1983 to 1991 and from 2004 to present    He also held the position of vice president – quality within Holland America for three years, as well as president of Greenwich Group, Inc., a travel agency management group, for seven years.

Loyal Princess Passengers Rewarded with Extra Discount for Early Bookings
Loyal Princess passengers who book early to reserve their favorite destination and accommodations can now receive extra savings with the line's new Princess Captain's Circle Launch Savings benefit.  This new discount offers Circle Members up to $300 off when they make their cruise reservations shortly after new cruise schedules are announced.  The program offers one of the industry's best past passenger values, as it can be combined with other promotional fares.
Debuting with summer 2009 itineraries, the savings vary by destination and apply to all cabin categories. The program is offered to Circle Members at all membership levels - Gold, Platinum and Elite.  For 2009-2010 departures, Europe and Alaska cruises must be booked by September 30, 2008 and all other destinations must be booked by December 31, 2008.
Once booked, Launch Savings remain in effect, and can be applied to most other subsequent promotions, allowing past passengers to always have the best fares for which they qualify.  The savings can be combined with Escape Fares, group rates, regional promotions, and other past passenger discounts.

Victoria Cruises Assists Humanitarian Efforts Following China Earthquake
Victoria Cruises, the pre-eminent cruise company sailing China’s Yangtze River, is assisting humanitarian relief efforts following the earthquake in Wenchaun, China by donating excess inventory and supplies, including much-needed clothing, towels and drinking water. “After our passengers and crew, who were all at a safe distance from the quake’s center, our primary concern is for the surrounding countryside and the well-being of those who were adversely affected by the tragic disaster.” said Jerry Pi, Operating Partner for Victoria Cruises. “We encourage others to get involved by donating to the American Red Cross International Response Fund and help the victims during their time of need,” added Pi.
As for cruises operating in China in the aftermath of the earthquake, Larry Green man, manager of public relations and customer service for the cruise line, reported that “Victoria Cruises is operating normally and on schedule. While the earthquake was felt on land, and there was some sway felt along the river, our passengers are safe and the river is now calm. There has been no damage to our fleet.”

ACE Announces New Initiatives At 2008 UK Cruise Convention
The UK Association of Cruise Experts (ACE) has y announced a host of new agent training schemes, including plans to hold a week-long cruise event this autumn. Cruise Week, which is planned for September 7-14, 2008, will take the form of activities, events and promotions.  Based on the success of the ‘World’s Largest Cruise Night’ held in the US, Cruise Week will be a chance for agents across the country to join together in demonstrating the choice and diversity of today’s cruise products to holidaymakers.
The association, which has more than doubled its agent membership since the first UK Cruise Convention in May 2007, also revealed plans for a series of cruise expos this autumn.  Taking place at locations across the countries, these expos will be 120 person training events encompassing guest speakers, workshops and cruise trade fairs. Also announced at the UK Cruise Convention were student membership initiatives and further destination training courses.
Andy Harmer, ACE’s Director of Business Development, commented, “We were delighted to be able to launch Cruise Week to cruise agents from around the country at the 2008 UK Cruise Convention. ACE continues to monitor and improve its training schemes and we hope that these new initiatives, and Cruise Week in particular, will help to take the association a step further into the public domain.”
The largest cruise travel agent conference in the UK, ACE’s 2008 UK Cruise Convention is a platform for agents to learn more about cruise brands, destinations and trade partners. Featuring six different ships and internationally renowned speakers, agents also have the opportunity to get hands on with training sessions and break out workshops.
For more information visit www.cruiseexperts.org  or www.ukcruiseconvention.org.

NCL To Reflag ‘Pride of Aloha’ For Bahamas Cruises
NCL Corporation (NCL) will reflag and rename Pride of Aloha and launch the ship as Norwegian Sky, offering three and four-day Bahamas cruises from Miami commencing this summer. The 2,002-passenger ship, built in 1999, will return to the NCL international fleet, and will be outfitted with NCL’s Freestyle 2.0 enhancements.  It will be the youngest and highest quality ship sailing three and four-day Bahamas cruises from Miami beginning July 14, 2008.  “NCL pioneered the first Bahamas cruise from Miami more than 41 years ago and last had a ship in the three and four-day cruise market from Miami in 2003. By reintroducing Norwegian Sky and positioning the ship in Miami sailing short cruises to the Bahamas, we are returning to our roots.  At the same time, we are raising the bar by offering a modern Freestyle Cruising ship that features a variety of accommodations, including balconies and suites, a multitude of on-board amenities and a choice of six restaurants,” said Colin Veitch, NCL’s president and CEO.  “In addition, we will outfit Norwegian Sky with the Freestyle 2.0 enhancements currently being introduced across our fleet. This, coupled with the port-intensive itineraries, offers guests seeking a quick getaway an unmatched cruise experience.  There is no doubt that NCL’s three and four-day Freestyle product on the industry’s newest ship offers the highest quality and best value for money in the market.”
Norwegian Sky, which had been reflagged and renamed Pride of Aloha in 2004 and sailed Hawaii inter-island cruises until this month, will enter a wet dock in Miami during which a casino will be added.  In addition, the ship will receive the significant product and hardware upgrades that are part of the company’s major fleetwide initiative, Freestyle 2.0.  These enhancements include:  a major investment in the total dining experience such as all new menus and Lobster Galore; upgrading the stateroom experience; new wide ranging on-board activities for all guests; and additional recognition, service and amenities for balcony and suite guests.
Norwegian Sky will depart Miami on Mondays sailing four-day Bahamas cruises with full-day stops in Grand Bahama Island, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, NCL’s private island in the Bahamas. 

Fred.Olsen’s ‘Braemar’ To Get A New Midsection
The Braemar arrived at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg this month for a scheduled lengthening. The vessel owned by Fred. Olsen Crusie Lines will be lengthened by 21.2 meters. It will increase the passenger capacity of the ship from 900 to 950. This is the second Olsen ship to be lengthened. Last year the Balmoral was also stretched. In addition, Braemar will have 18 new balconies added to her and the main dining room and several public areas will also undergo renovations. Like the Balmoral project, the new midbody section was built in advance by Schichau Seebeck Shipyard in Bremerhaven under subcontract to Blohm + Voss Repair and floated into the Hamburg shipyard on April 6.  The ship is expected to resume cruises in the summer.
Braemar entered service in 1993 as the Crown Dynasty for the Commodore Cruise Lines and was sold to Olsen in 2001 when Commodore went into bankruptcy.

HAL’s Culinary Arts Center Program Flourishes With Over 70 Culinary Experts
Since its inception four years ago, the Culinary Arts Center  program has nearly doubled with more than 70 culinary experts participating in the ongoing 2008 season including cookbook authors Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, on Holland America Line’s new ms Eurodam. “The Culinary Arts Center is a guest favorite,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs.  “We will continue to expand the program and provide our guests with the culinary experiences that have made it such a success.”
Holland America Line launched its innovative culinary program in 2005 with the installation of state-of-the-art Culinary Arts Centers aboard each of its premium ships offering culinary demonstrations, tastings and hands-on cooking classes.  The line expanded the program by partnering with Food & Wine magazine to provide guests on select cruises the opportunity to experience demonstrations and seminars conducted by a wide diversity of culinary experts.
A new addition to the 2008 season is Eric Villegas, host of the US Emmy Award-winning PBS series, Fork in the Road, who is scheduled to sail aboard the ms Veendam June 13-20, 2008. 
The Culinary Arts Program includes cookbook authors as well as wine and spirits experts such as master mixologists Christy Pope and Chad Solomon.
In addition to partnering with Food & Wine to secure top experts, Holland America Line showcases its own culinary stars on more than 500 annual cruises with demonstrations, tastings and hands-on cooking classes given by the ships’ executive chefs and culinary staff. The line’s cookbook A Taste of Excellence, written by Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, offers guests preparation techniques for some of Holland America’s most delectable dishes and lavish libations as part of the Culinary Arts Center experience.

Carnival Corp Chairman & CEO Micky Arison Featured In On-Line‘Webisode
An interview with Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO Micky Arison is being shown line’s travel agent portal, www.BookCCL.com. Arison’s interview is the latest in a series of webisodes – entitled Onboard with Carnival – that feature a different member of Carnival’s management team, all in a relaxed talk show-like setting.  Arison is profiled in a two-part interview with the second webisode debuting Monday, June 2. 
In the first webisode, Arison recalls the “early days” of Carnival, while in the second he offers his insight into the company’s current goals, as well as his perspective on the future of Carnival and the cruise industry as a whole. He also details his own relationships with travel agents, which includes a stint as a Carnival field sales representative early in his career.

Bob Hope Memorabilia To Be Sold During Live Auction In October
Collector and museum quality items from the life, career and estate of the legendary Bob Hope will be sold during a live televised and real-time online auction conducted by Julien's Auctions (www.juliensauctions.com) in October 2008.  Hope's extraordinary career spanned Vaudeville, Broadway, radio, television and film, and his numerous USO tours to entertain U.S. military troops earned him the admiration of generations of fans around the world. "This auction celebrates 100 years since Bob Hope arrived in the United States to become one of the most iconic entertainers in the history of Hollywood," stated Martin Nolan, Executive Director of Julien's Auctions. 
As part of this historic event, Cunard Line will pay tribute to Bob Hope by featuring a very special appearance by Mr. Hope's daughter, Linda, in association with the line's award-winning guest enrichment program Cunard InsightsTM.  The September 4, 2008, transatlantic crossing from New York to Southampton aboard Cunard's flagship Queen Mary 2 will be a memorable experience reminiscent of the Golden Age of Ocean Travel and offer an added element of Hollywood from this bygone era by celebrating the career and life of Bob Hope.     
During the September 4 voyage, Linda Hope will share an intimate look inside the life of her world-famous father, moderate a film & television retrospective and offer personal anecdotes about the historic memorabilia showcased onboard as part of the auction highlights tour.  Guests will have the opportunity to attend a special "auction preview" program with Linda along with Julien's Auctions President/CEO Darren Julien and Executive Director Martin Nolan.

NativeEnergy & Lindblad Expeditions Form Partnership
NativeEnergy, an international marketer of high quality carbon offsets and renewable energy credits (RECs), will collaborate with Lindblad Expeditions, a leader in environmentally conscious travel that provides voyages to the Galapagos, Antarctica, and beyond. By partnering with NativeEnergy, the travel company's carbon emissions will be effectively offset, while bringing critical up-front financing to new renewable energy projects with considerable social value. "I view climate change as perhaps the single most important issue of our time," said Sven Lindblad, president and founder of Lindblad Expeditions. He continued, "As we explore the remote corners of the planet, we aim to encourage our guests to be part of the climate change discussion. Our partnership with NativeEnergy allows us to better explain to our guests the complicated landscape of offsets and showcase innovative carbon offset solutions that we can implement in the places we travel such as Alaska and Baja California."
Through NativeEnergy, Lindblad Expeditions will support the Penn England Family Farm methane digester project in Pennsylvania and American Farmer-Owned wind turbines in the Midwest. Lindblad's carbon offsets purchase will help mitigate the global warming impact from emissions generated by Lindblad's National Geographic Endeavour and from the company's New York City headquarters.
As Lindblad's 2008 offset portfolio partner, NativeEnergy leverages its unique business model to provide critical financing for innovative projects with high social value. Lindblad Expeditions says its first goal is to reduce its carbon emissions and then offset its impact with high quality carbon offsets.

May 2, 2008

New ECC Report On Cruise Growth In Europe
                                                                       

 

Aida Cruises Welcomes New Ship AIDAbella


AIDAbella at christening ceremony in Germany
The newest addition to the AIDA fleet – AIDAbella – was officially christened on April 21 in Rostock-Warnemuende / Germany. AIDAbella is the second of all-together six AIDA new ships to be built at Meyer ship yard in Papenburg till 2012 and the now fifth ship of the AIDA family. AIDAbella will cruise in the Baltic Sea during summer and around the Canaries in winter.

Star Cruises Sells ‘Norwegian Dream’ And ‘Norwegian Majesty’
Star Cruises has taken another step to further strengthen the Group’s capital structure by completing the sale of two ships sailing for its subsidiary Norwegian Cruise Line— Norwegian Dream and Norwegian Majesty—to the Cyprus Louis Group for US$218 million and US$162 million respectively. The two ships will be chartered back from the new owner to complete their announced scheduled itineraries in November 2008 for Norwegian Dream and December 2009 for Norwegian Majesty. “The sale of the 2 ships will improve on the Star Cruises Group’s capital structure following on the completion of Apollo’s investment in Norwegian Cruise Line (“NCL”) in January 2008. It is expected that there will be net savings in interest expenses and the additional cash flow will provide opportunities arising in Asia for Star Cruises like our hotel and casino project in the Philippines announced on April 2, 2008,” said David Chua, President of Star Cruises.
“This transaction will also speed up the optimization plan for the upgrade of our existing fleet in Asia and the international fleet in America and Europe so as to realize our mission and promise for delivering the best quality cruising experience to our cruisers by continuously upgrading our hardware and software. 2010. Star Cruises will continue our
investment in NCL and explore opportunities for our international fleet,” added Chua.
The French built Norwegian Dream, which has capacity for 2,156 passengers, will see out its current season for NCL, under a lease back until November this year.
The smaller Norwegian Majesty, offering 1,790 berths, was built in Finland and has been chartered back until December 2009.

Royal Caribbean’s ‘Independence of the Seas’ Christened in the UK
Amid bagpipers, Celtic dancers and a host of celebrities, Royal Caribbean’s new ship Independence of the Seas received a festive welcome into the fleet in Southampton, UK on April 30. To be based in the UK for the 20008 spring/summer/early fall season, Independence is the third ship in the Freedom class of RCI vessels. The cruise ship was christened by Godmother Elizabeth Hill, selected in a UK nationwide search for a woman who has made an extraordinary contribution to the common good. Read Shipsandcruises special preview of the ship.

NCL America’s ‘Pride Of Aloha’ To Be Transferred To Star Cruises
Pride of Aloha is wrapping up service under the NCL America banner and is due to withdraw from the Hawaii market on May 11. The ship is scheduled to transfer to Star Cruises for deployment in Asia this summer. Itineraries have not been announced

Cruises' ‘Celebrity Galaxy’ To Become First Ship In New TUI Cruises Fleet
Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Galaxy will become the first ship of TUI Cruises, a new cruise brand established through a joint venture between Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and TUI AG. "Celebrity Galaxy has been a treasured member of our family of ships since her maiden voyage in December 1996, and the outstanding crew onboard will continue to offer the service with style Celebrity is known for right up until the shift to TUI Cruises," said Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Dan Hanrahan. "We look forward to transitioning those fine shipboard colleagues to the balance of the Celebrity fleet as we grow the brand with our new Solstice class."
TUI Cruises is designed for German-speaking guests seeking a contemporary/premium cruise experience. The onboard product will be custom-tailored to German tastes in food, entertainment and amenities.
Celebrity Galaxy will complete its scheduled sailings through the March 2, 2009, itinerary. It will enter service for TUI Cruises in May 2009 under a new name, and will sail in the Baltic in the summer season and in the Caribbean in the winter.
Celebrity Galaxy joined the Celebrity Cruises fleet in December 1996 and was built by Jos. L. Meyer GmbH & Co. of Papenburg, Germany. Celebrity invested $4-million in a series of upgrades on the ship this month, including new carpeting, upholstery and lighting in a variety of public spaces and staterooms. The 77,713 gross-registered-ton ship carries 1,870 guests (double occupancy) and 909 crew.
TUI AG is Europe's leading travel and shipping group. TUI AG holds the majority stake in Europe's leading travel group, London-based TUI Travel PLC. The corporation operates the world's fifth-largest container shipping company -- Hapag-Lloyd -- and, through Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, also runs the leading German cruise line company in the luxury and expedition segment.

Carnival Offering Active/Retired Military Personnel Special Booking Rates In May
In honor of Memorial Day, Carnival Cruise Lines is offering active and retired military personnel an opportunity to book up to three Fun Ship staterooms for themselves and their friends and family members at special discounted rates. The new “Carnival Salutes Our Troops” promotion is available in conjunction with a wide variety of three- to 12-day Fun Ship voyages to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii and Europe, departing between now and December 31, 2009, from 20 different departure points. Reservations must be made between May 1 to 31, 2008, to qualify.
Military personnel and their friends and families can take advantage of the following special rates: $219 per person for three-day cruises to the Bahamas and Baja Mexico; $229 per person for four-day cruises to the Bahamas, Caribbean and Mexico; $279 per person for five-day cruises to the Caribbean, the Bahamas and Mexico; $479 per person for seven-day cruises to the Caribbean and Alaska; and $829 per person for 12-day cruises to Hawaii and Europe.
The promotion is valid for individual bookings only, capacity controlled and not applicable with any other discount offer. Military personnel must provide proof of service during the reservations process to be eligible for the special rates. Certain other restrictions apply. 

Ambassadors Cruise Group Names Diane Moore President of Windstar Cruises
Ambassadors Cruise Group has named Diane Moore President of Windstar Cruises, effective April 29, 2008. Moore has been serving as the Executive Vice President of Marketing, Sales, Reservations, Guest Services and Customer Relations for Windstar Cruises since 2007 after joining the company earlier in the year as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Windstar Cruises and Majestic America Line.
Windstar is a division of Ambassadors International Cruise Group, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ambassadors Cruise Group, LLC.

Ambassadors International, Inc. Announces Plans to Sell Majestic America Line
Ambassadors International, Inc. says it plans to sell Majestic America Line. Joe Ueberroth, Chairman and CEO of the Company, stated, "We are committed to operating the 2008 season of Majestic America Line while conducting our exit of the business in an orderly and effective manner. Several credible parties have expressed a sincere interest in acquiring some and/or all the assets of Majestic America Line and building upon the efforts and investments we have made in delivering unique cruise experiences that celebrate American history, culture and our magnificent waterways. In addition, our decision to exit Majestic America Line enables us to focus our efforts and investments on the successes of Windstar Cruises."
The Company has a conference call scheduled on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 to discuss the financial results for the first quarter of 2008 and at that time management will elaborate further on the decision to sell Majestic America Line.

Two Regent Cruise Ships In Rare Meet In Bermuda

Seven Seas Voyager (foreground) and Seven Seas Mariner
The April 26 dual docking of Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Voyager® and Seven Seas Mariner® in Hamilton, Bermuda marked a rare event for Regent Seven Seas and its guests. The line’s international itineraries seldom allow the ships to simultaneously travel the same regions of the world, let alone meet in the same port. Seven Seas Mariner was in the midst of a 12-night Bermuda cruise which departed roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale while Seven Seas Voyager was nearing the completion of a 17-day transatlantic voyage from Piraeus, Greece to Fort Lauderdale on the final leg of its World Cruise.

Holland America Line and the Port of Seattle Partner to Help Area Charities
Holland America Line and the Port of Seattle have announced Ship to Shelter, an innovative new community-giving program that is the first of its kind in the nation. Holland America Line will collect valuable and reusable goods from their ships sailing from Seattle this summer, and donate them to Seattle area charities serving people in need.

Lindblad Expeditions Announces Climate Change Action Plan
Lindblad Expeditions (www.expeditions.com), a leader in sustainable tourism, has
announced a comprehensive climate change action plan focused on lessening the company’s environmental footprint while simultaneously increasing awareness of global environmental issues. The climate change action plan, which includes measurement, education, carbon offsets and policy components, was produced in conjunction with Clean Air-Cool Planet, the non-profit organization dedicated solely to finding and promoting solutions to global warming.
Lindblad recognizes that the very nature of expedition travel – bringing guests to remote and pristine places of beauty via ships – does produce greenhouse gas emissions. In order to minimize their impact, Lindblad Expeditions has chosen to partner with NativeEnergy and The Mexican Fund for Conservation of Nature (MFCN) to implement a portfolio of actions to help cut emissions through the purchase of high quality carbon offsets. In 2008, Lindblad Expeditions purchased 10,000 metric tons of offsets representing the combined emissions from the company’s ship ,the National Geographic Endeavour, and its New York City headquarters. Selected with the guidance of CA-CP, these offsets will support farm methane (7,000 metric tons) and community wind (2,000 metric tons) projects in the
Midwestern portion of the US and an innovative solar oven program in rural Mexico (1,000 metric tons).  Lindblad Expeditions’ offset strategy will vary from year to year based on the overall portfolio parameters and the availability of
new sources of offsets. The final component of Lindblad Expeditions’ Plan for Climate Action includes outreach initiatives to engage influential leaders from the public and private sector in the battle against global warming. “Our partnership with CA-CP and the implementation of our Plan for Climate Action is a critical step for addressing
the very challenges that are facing us as we travel to the poles and the pristine corners of the earth,” said Sven Lindblad, president and founder of Lindblad Expeditions. “For years, we have been working to preserve and even restore these places around the globe. Today, global warming is helping to shape the sustainability conversation, and we want to engage as many of our guests in that conversation as we possibly can,” he added.

Two Princess Ships to be Remodeled with Line's Latest Signature Features
Two Princess ships will be remodeled to incorporate a number of the most popular amenities that have become passenger favorites on the line's newer ships.  The upcoming makeovers of Star Princess and Caribbean Princess will include a transformation of the Deck 5 atrium into the inviting piazza-style street café currently found on Crown Princess and Emerald Princess. Plus it will add the company's signature adults-only Sanctuary and showplace Crown Grill steak and seafood restaurant, along with a more centrally located casino and seven new suites. Seven new oceanview suites also will be added on Deck six,
Star Princess will receive these new features during her September drydock in San Francisco and Caribbean Princess will follow in January 2009.

Hebridean Cruises welcomes back Mike Deegan as Managing Director
Hebridean International Cruises is delighted to announce the appointment of Mike Deegan as Managing Director, returning to a post he vacated two and a half years ago.
Born in Manchester, Mike has been involved with the shipping industry, both afloat and ashore, for over 25 years.  He spent the early part of his career as a Purser on cargo ships before specializing in passenger shipping as a Senior Purser. After spending two years working for the Omani Royal Court in the Middle East, Mike initially joined Hebridean as Chief Purser of (the then newly launched) Hebridean Spirit and then moved ashore as Operations Director in 2002.  Mike was promoted to Managing Director in 2004.
Speaking on his appointment Mike said, "I am delighted to be returning to Hebridean.  At a time when the industry generally seems to be introducing bigger and bigger ships, we are proud to continue to operate the finest small cruise ships afloat where attention to detail is paramount, where unobtrusive service is the norm and where we can offer the finest privately escorted tours to some amazing and rarely visited places".

Lindblad Expeditions Announces Chefs-At-Sea Program
Lindblad Expeditions (www.expeditions.com ), the pioneering expedition
travel company with a strong commitment to conservation, has partnered with the Chefs Collaborative (www.chefscollaborative.org ) to launch Chefs-at-Sea, a new program for the Lindblad on-board experience. The Chefs Collaborative is a network of more than 1500 chefs and culinary professionals from across the US who are devoted to sourcing and cooking with local and sustainable ingredients. Through Chefs-at-Sea, guests aboard
Lindblad’s fleet of ships will learn from award-winning chefs, in presentations and demonstrations, or market visits. This program brings to life culinary history, practice and art, focusing on the growing trends in local and artisanal cuisine.
The first round of Chefs-at-Sea, which will kick off in fall 2008, will include nationally-recognized chefs noted for introducing modern and sustainable cuisine in their restaurants. “Chefs today are the new celebrities,” said Sven Lindblad, founder and president of Lindblad Expeditions. “Chefs of the Collaborative are incredibly influential with their patrons around issues of which we are mutually passionate – sustainable fisheries, local, and artisanal ingredients as well as the cultural origins of foods. We are
proud to showcase their knowledge and talent as part of our expedition environment,” he added.

Le Ponant Resumes Its Cruise Itineraries In May

In early April, pirates seized control of a French luxury yacht carrying 30 crew members off the coast of Somalia. Attackers stormed Compagnie des Iles du Ponant’s  288-foot sailing ship Le Ponant as the yacht made passage without passengers between the Seychelles and the Mediterranean.
French military captured six suspected Somali pirates nine days later on April 14 and reportedly retrieved half of the ransom paid for the release of the crew. The French action was sanctioned by the Somali national and Puntland provincial governments as the vessel had been moored at Garacade, near Eyl in the northern region of Puntland. “The crew wasn’t harmed and the ship didn’t suffer any real damage,’ said Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée, head of the company as quoted in press reports. He added that the three-masted vessel would receive some improvements that had been planned for the autumn.
The vessel is heading to the shipyards in La Ciotat, France for a check-up and some light refurbishment following its hijacking. After that, Le Ponant will sail to Naples, where she will resume her scheduled sailings on May 5.
Pirates seized more than two dozen ships off the Somali coast last year. The US Navy has led international patrols to try to combat piracy in the region. Last year, the guided missile destroyer USS Porter opened fire to destroy pirate skiffs tied to a Japanese tanker.
The International Maritime Bureau, which tracks piracy, said in its annual report earlier this year that global pirate attacks rose 10 percent in 2007, marking the first increase in three years.

New 130,000-Ton ‘Carnival Dream’ To Be Based At Port Canaveral
Carnival Cruise Lines has announced that the new 130,000-ton Carnival Dream – the largest fun Ship ever constructed – will be based at Port Canaveral, Fla., beginning in fall 2009.  Details on the ship’s itinerary will be provided at a later date.
Currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, the 3,652-passenger Carnival Dream is the first in a new class of ship for the line with a unique interior design, sleek hull and distinctive profile, along with a host of innovative facilities and features which will be released in the coming months.
The deployment of the Carnival Dream to Port Canaveral continues the line’s 18-year relationship with the Canaveral Port Authority, the longest tenure of any cruise line there.

Voyages of Discovery Joins International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators
Destination specialist Voyages of Discovery has been accepted as a member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators. Voyages of Discovery joins as an Associate Member. Under IAATO bylaws, full membership requires a year as an associate member.

MS Europa Wins Fielding’s Guide’s Six- Star Ship Of The Year Award
Top cruise rankings go to Hapag-Lloyd Cruises MS EUROPA in Fielding’s Guide to Luxury Cruises.  The EUROPA won the “ship of the year,” due to the ship’s exceptional food and dining options, crew and services, facilities and activities, cabin size, shore excursions and overall ship layout and design.  This is the second year the MS EUROPA has won this award, given by the popular Australian Online Guide. Earlier this year the EUROPA has already been the winner of The Only Five-Star Plus Ship in the World According To the 2008 Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships.
Tim Fieldings, author of the on-line guide at www.fieldings-luxury-cruises, says that “the EUROPA represents the epitome of the luxury cruising experience, a great ship, dedicated crew, global itineraries, super food and stimulating entertainment.  No longer just a secret just for German speakers, the bi-lingual EUROPA caters to the English speaking market in a very sophisticated European way.”
Accepting the award in Hamburg, Germany, Managing Director of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Sebastian Ahrens said, “We are very proud and feel extremely honored to receive this coveted award for the second consecutive year.”

Royal Caribbean Names New Vice President Of Environmental Stewardship
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has named conservation advocate Jamie Sweeting as its vice president of Environmental Stewardship. In his position, which is new to the company, Sweeting will be responsible for establishing the company’s long-term environmental strategy, including goals and objectives that ensure responsible corporate environmental performance.  These objectives will incorporate factors such as climate change, destination stewardship, current and future environmental regulations and agreements, and programs that lead to sound environmental policy, compliance, incident response and training.
Sweeting has more than a decade of experience in tourism, conservation and business management.  Most recently, he served as senior business advisor for Conservation International’s Center for Environmental Leadership in Business.  Previously, he served as the Center’s Senior Director of the Travel and Leisure program, where he helped companies realize the benefits of becoming industry leaders in conservation and community development.  Earlier in his career, Sweeting worked for the Ecotourism Society and also conducted a special project on ecotourism in the Caribbean.    

Princess Cruises Australia Celebrates End of Record Cruise Season

Princess Cruises is celebrating the close of its biggest ever summer season of cruising in Australia with its two ships, Sun Princess and Sapphire Princess, carrying 47,000 passengers into and out of Sydney over the past six months. Sun Princess made her final summer call to Sydney (April 19 before sailing for Perth where she will be based for the next three months, while Sapphire Princess made her last call for the season on April 14.
Since November 2007, the two ships have made 21 turnaround visits to Sydney, carrying 47,000 passengers – a massive 63 per cent increase in passenger numbers over the previous summer cruise season. Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia which represents Princess Cruises in Australia, said the surge in passengers was due to the Australian deployment of the Sun Princess, which carries 1950 passengers. “Her superliner status means we’ve been able to offer more Australians the chance to cruise over summer, which has boosted the economic return for Sydney as well as the many ports around Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific which the ship visits,” Sherry said.
The first premium superliner to be based full-time in Australia, Sun Princess will return to Sydney in July for her 75-night Grand Pacific world voyage.

NCL Introduces New Entertainment On Board ‘Norwegian Jade’
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has introduced new entertainment on board Norwegian Jade (formerly the Pride of Hawaii) as part of the ship's year-round deployment in Europe. Reflecting the company's continuing commitment to Freestyle Cruising, the wide variety of entertainment offerings were designed to offer guests more flexibility during Norwegian Jade's port-intensive European itineraries. The new entertainment includes four new off-Broadway musicals, the legendary show phenomenon Tony n Tina's Wedding, an expanded The Second City comedy show, and a classical dance production by award-winning choreographer Twyla Tharp. In addition, Norwegian Jade is the first NCL ship to feature Freestyle 2.0 enhancements, including all new menus in the restaurants, upgraded bedding and enhanced on-board activities programming, including NCL "U" enrichment classes, themed parties, sports programming and enhanced youth programs. "With Norwegian Jade's year-round deployment in Europe, we've developed special entertainment programming that raises the bar for cruise ship entertainment, offering an engaging and vibrant daytime and nighttime line-up for our guests," said Colin Veitch, NCL's president and CEO. "At the same time, Norwegian Jade is the first to feature our Freestyle 2.0 enhancements and the combination of these two initiatives is providing an extraordinary Freestyle Cruising experience for guests sailing on Norwegian Jade."
On Norwegian Jade, NCL has replaced the traditional cruise director with both a master of ceremonies and a guest activities director. The master of ceremonies is a professional entertainer who hosts all evening events while the guest activities director coordinates the ship's daytime activities. In addition, the entertainment scheduling has been changed to allow guests more flexibility and choice each evening.

Royal Caribbean Reports Improved First Quarter 2008 Earnings
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. reported a net income for the first quarter 2008 of $75.6 million, or $0.35 per share, compared to net income of $8.8 million, or $0.04 per share, in 2007.  The significant increase in earnings per share versus the first quarter 2007 was due primarily to increased capacity and higher yields, offset by higher fuel prices.  Revenues for the first quarter 2008 increased to $1.4 billion from revenues of $1.2 billion in the first quarter 2007.   Higher fuel prices increased costs by $60 million in the first quarter 2008, which reduced earnings per share by $0.28.
Key metrics for the first quarter 2008, as compared to the first quarter 2007, were as follows:
Net Yields increased 7.1% to a record $173 per APCD.
Excluding fuel, Net Cruise Costs per APCD decreased 1.0%.
Fuel prices increased 53%, while fuel costs per APCD increased 24%; benefiting from energy saving initiatives and hedging.  The average at-the-pump price for the quarter was $592 per metric ton versus $388 per metric ton in 2007.  
Net Cruise Costs per APCD increased 2.9%.
The company expects its second quarter 2008 earnings per share to be $0.40 to $0.45, and expects full year 2008 earnings per share to be $2.85 to $3.00.
“Our record yield performance in the first quarter and our solid forward bookings demonstrate our resilience and are certainly reassuring,” said Richard Fain, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.  “Our brands have clearly differentiated themselves and our portfolio of innovative newbuilds will continue to feed their momentum.”
But he continued, “higher fuel prices have been a prolonged challenge for us, but our management team remains focused on cost controls and continues to help mitigate the impact.  Except for higher fuel prices, it is very gratifying to see our revenues and earnings projected to be as good or better than our original expectations.  Our brands’ momentum, cost savings initiatives, growing economies of scale and the efficiencies of our new vessels should continue to improve our shareholder value.”
The company expects to have a 5.1% increase in capacity in 2008, driven primarily by a full year of Liberty of the Seas, the Independence of the Seas entering service in May,  Pullmantur’s purchase of Pacific Star, and Celebrity Solstice entering service in the fourth quarter.

Several Cruise Lines Revise Fuel Supplements To Offset Rising Fuel Prices
In April several cruise lines readjusted their fuel supplements charged passengers. The companies include:
NCL:  In response to the continued rise in oil prices, NCL Corporation announced today an increase to its current fuel supplement. The new fuel supplement will be $9 per person per day for the first and second guests in a stateroom and $4 per person per day for any additional guests in the same stateroom, based on the guidelines below. The increased fuel supplement applies only to new individual reservations made on or after May 1, 2008. The increased fuel supplement applies to any group reservation booked on or after May 1, 2008.  The increased fuel supplement will also apply to group space held prior to May 1, 2008 without specific names and full confirming deposit by April 30, 2008. "With crude oil and refined product prices at record highs, our fuel bill stands at a level that was unimaginable two years ago," said Colin Veitch, NCL's president and CEO. "It is unfortunate, but necessary, that we now have to pass some of the increase in our fuel bill on to our customers, just as many other businesses are being forced to do. We appreciate the understanding of our travel partners and our guests as we make this necessary adjustment."
Royal Caribbean International: To offset rising fuel costs, RCI will increase the fuel supplement it charges guests. For first and second guests in a stateroom, the revised fuel supplement will be $8 (U.S.D.) per-person, per-day, and no more than $112 (U.S.D.) per-person, per-cruise.  Additional guests in a stateroom will be charged $3 (U.S.D.) per-person, per day, and no more than $42 (U.S.D.) per-person, per-cruise.
The revised fuel supplement will apply to bookings made throughout the world on or after May 1, 2008, onboard three Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises.
Carnival Corporation: Effective for all new bookings on April 21, 2008 for Carnival Corp’s brands— Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Cunard Line and Seabourn Cruises—the fuel supplement will increase from $5 to $7 per guest, per day (based on double occupancy). In addition, a fuel supplement of $2 per guest per day will apply to third/fourth/fifth guests.
The fuel supplement was necessitated by significant rises in fuel prices which have dramatically increased Carnival’s operating costs.
Oceania Cruises: Oceania Cruises will increase its fuel surcharge, upping the fee from $7 to $10 per person, per day, regardless of voyage length, for all new reservations effective May 1, 2008. The fuel surcharge applies only to the first two guests in the stateroom or suite and does not apply to third or fourth guests.
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has announced that, due to the rising cost of fuel, it has become necessary to increase the current fuel surcharge on all bookings made May 1, 2008.  Bookings confirmed prior to that date will not be affected. The supplement will be £3.50 per person per night and £1.50 per person per night for 3rd or 4th occupants of cabins.  The supplement will be capped at a maximum of £70 per person.

Labor Strife Delays Maiden Cruise of ‘easyCruise Life’
Greek cruiseline easyCruise will delay the maiden cruise of its new ship easyCruise Life, which was originally scheduled to depart April 19 from Athens (Piraeus) until May 17. The company blamed labor strikes in Greece for the delay which caused finishing touches on the ship not to be completed in time for its first cruise. The 12,711-ton easyCruise Life was built in 1981 and has operated as a ferry in Egypt. It had been undergoing an extensive refurbishment since November 2007 in order to enter the EasyCruise fleet.

Passengers that had booked on earlier cruises have been offered generous compensation packages including full refunds and future free cruises. Customers may contact our call center about the arrangements on +30 211 211 6 211.2008 or visit www.easycruise.com.

Carnival Wins Best of Cruising In 9 Categories In Fodor’s European Cruises Guide
Carnival Cruise Lines – a relative newcomer in European cruising, entering the market just three years ago – is well represented in the recently published Fodor’s Complete Guide to European Cruises, garnering nine “Best of Cruising” designations, more than double the number of any other cruise line. Carnival’s nine “Best of Cruising” awards include:
*Best Regular Dining Room Cuisine
*Best Specialty Restaurants
*Best Cruise Line For Families
*Best Regular Cabins
*Best Beds
*Best Entertainment At Sea
*Best Sports and Fitness Centers
*Best Shops on Board
*Best Fun & Funky Activities

NCL Names Andy Stuart Executive VP & Chief Product Officer
NCL Corporation has named Andy Stuart Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer.  In this role, Andy, who has been leading the Freestyle 2.0 initiative in his former role as Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Passenger Services, has taken on a more broad-based responsibility for the delivery of the Freestyle Cruising product across the NCL fleet, ensuring that it provides exceptional value and quality for guests and is consistent with the marketing and brand positioning of the company. 
Additionally, in his new role, Andy has assumed the role of F3 Project Chief which includes the planning, coordination and oversight of NCL’s two new F3 ships, including design, building, commercial and marketing launch, product development and operational delivery. The F3 multidisciplinary project team now reports to Stewart.  A search is underway for an executive vice president, sales and marketing to assume Andy’s responsibilities in the areas of sales, marketing and public relations.
Andy joined NCL in 1988 and served as the company’s sales and marketing director in the United Kingdom until December 1996. He was named vice president of sales planning and relocated to the company’s Miami headquarters in January 1997. He was promoted to senior vice president of passenger services in 1998, and in 1999, named senior vice president of NCL sales. In 2000, he was promoted to senior vice president of marketing and sales. In 2003, Andy was named executive vice president of marketing, sales and passenger services.

Oceania Cruises Introduces New Travel Agent Dashboard
Oceania Cruises is introducing he new Travel Agent Dashboard. With greatly increased functionality, the new Agent Dashboard provides travel agents with greater resources and management tools at their fingertips which provide them seamless access to reservations, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “The Agent Dashboard was developed to provide our travel partners with a one-stop environment for creating and managing reservations. Building upon our current online booking engine, agents may now accomplish virtually any task that they would with one of our reservation agents over the phone,” stated James Rodriguez, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Oceania Cruises.
The new Agent Dashboard allows agents to manage any reservation, regardless of whether it was made online or over the phone. In addition to the basic functions of reserving a cruise, making payments or modifying a reservation, agents may now also take advantage of the following new enhancements:
Add Cruise Options such as Shore Excursion Packages, A La Carte Excursions and Private Cabanas; view itemized invoices, cruise itineraries and air schedules; request and confirm Air Deviations; complete Guest Registration Forms and send Bon Voyage Gifts.
Additional information on the new Travel Agent Dashboard is at the Travel Agent Center at http://Agent.OceaniaCruises.com.

CLIA Names Lanie Fagan Director Of Communications
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has named Lanie Fagan, a communications professional with extensive community relations and issues management experience, as the association's director of communications based in CLIA's Fort Lauderdale office. "Lanie is a seasoned public relations professional with over 13 years of experience in various community relations, media, and marketing communications," said Terry Dale, CLIA president and CEO. "She is a creative strategic planner who brings a record of developing, implementing and managing programs that are beneficial to the industry."
Before joining CLIA, Fagan was the associate director of corporate communications with KPMG, the global network of professional firms providing audit, tax, and advisory services, in Montvale, New Jersey. Prior to her service with KPMG, Fagan was the senior media and community relations specialist for FPL Energy, a subsidiary of FPL Group, one of the nation's largest providers of electricity-related services. Her career includes positions as director of corporate communications for Visual Data Corporation, public relations manager at Verizon Wireless and account supervisor for Bitner Goodman Public Relations. Fagan has an international background, having been born in Spain, and raised in Canada and Hungary.

Carnival Launches New Electronic Group Management Tool For Travel Agents
Carnival Cruise Lines has rolled out an exciting enhancement to its travel agent Web portal designed to provide travel agents with a convenient means of managing their group bookings electronically. Through the new tool, available within www.BookCCL.com  and other electronic channels supported by Carnival, travel agents can perform a host of functions that previously had to be done over the phone through the line’s group reservations department.  Agent tutorials are available on BookCCL.com for agents to learn at their own pace.  Tutorials include basic BookCCL.com functionality and the new group cabin management feature.
For assistance with BookCCL.com and other on-line tools, please contact the eSolutions Group at 1-800-845-2599, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT.

UK Passenger Shipping Association Joins Forces To Celebrate  50th Anniversary
Ports, museums, libraries and travel companies are being urged to join the Passenger Shipping Association’s (PSA) year-long celebration of its fiftieth anniversary. The PSA is planning a year-long series of events to celebrate the huge changes in travel by sea since the establishment of its forerunner—the Ocean Transport Development organization was founded in 1958 to promote passenger travel by sea. The PSA then evolved in 1976 with eighteen cruise members and eight ferry companies.
To kick start the anniversary celebrations the PSA is already working with the National Maritime Museum in London to create a new display for the celebratory year and has written to libraries, museums, ports and travel agencies to get involved.
The PSA is creating a series of materials which can be used by bodies looking to celebrate the year – including an online image library- http://www.virtualcd-rom.com/psa  press materials, display materials, posters and a commemorative book. The Mail on Sunday has also committed to support the PSA at consumer and trade events throughout the year.
Bill Gibbons, director of the Passenger Shipping Association said: “We want this year to celebrate how far we’ve come and also to look forward at how much this industry is still changing. We have had responses from museums from Glasgow to Southampton and we are looking forward to working with anyone in the community who would like to take part in our celebratory year.
“Fifty years after our formation our members now include  17 ferry companies who look after more than 40 million passenger ferry journeys on routes to British islands, Ireland, France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark and Norway. We also represent 37 cruise lines which have 43 brands and which look after almost 1.5 million British cruise passengers, as well as 50 associate members from a wide range of associated businesses. We’ve got some great history and a fascinating future to look forward to.”

 

 

 

April 17, 2008

Royal Caribbean Lifts The Veil A Bit On Its Project Genesis Innovations
In its latest evolution in cruise ship design, Royal Caribbean International’s Project Genesis will bring the best of the land to sea with Central Park, a revolutionary design in which the center of the ship opens to the sky amid lush foliage and hidden nooks in a dedicated space spanning the length of a football field.  This new concept—the first of seven neighborhoods to be unveiled on Project Genesis—was unveiled at a luncheon meeting in New York April 15 near the West Side Piers.
     
Rendering of Central Park’s boulevard                
A redesigned public gathering place popular on the Voyager and Freedom classes of ship, Central Park emulates more of a town setting with an array of restaurants, bars and boutique shops with the sky as the ceiling. Landscaped with tropical foliage, including seasonal flowers, shrubs and trees, garden spaces will be sprinkled throughout providing quiet reading corners, There will also be a Chess Garden with large-scale pieces; the

Rendering of the gardens
Pergola Garden, an interpretive garden featuring vegetation from a host of Caribbean locales; and a Sculpture garden, highlighting work by international artists. And an on-site horticulturist will provide educational classes for guests who want to learn more about the flora.
Overlooking the boulevard on both sides are six decks of 334 staterooms overlooking the Park, 254 with balconies.  “Building such a large vessel allowed us to add even more of the choices and amenities that our guests value and Central Park is a dramatic addition to our already extensive array of exciting features,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman & CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.  “Central Park is the first of many dynamic neighborhoods on Project Genesis which will enable each guest to find his or her own space and activity.” Emphasizing the “WOW” passenger experience, Fain says that RCI does not set out to build the largest ships in the world but “to build the most amazing collection of experiences, amenities and activities at sea.” Indeed, Fain recalled how he thought the rock climbing wall was a dumb idea when first put forth in 1999 for the Voyager of the Seas. ”It turned out to be the best idea all around at the time.” he admitted.
Central Park is located on Deck 8 of the 16-deck ship, with dimensions of 62 feet (19 meters) wide and 328 feet (100 meters) long. The town square will evoke a peaceful ambience during the day while at night it aims to be “the place where the action is” and concerts and street performances. For more details about Central Park, click New Ships.
When she launches in late 2009, the 220,000 gross-ton Project Genesis will be the largest and most revolutionary cruise ship in the world, carrying 5,400 guests in 2,700 staterooms. To be based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, she will be joined in 2010 by a sister ship. 

‘SS United States’: The Saga of a Maritime Marvel

WTTW National Productions, the PBS affiliate in Chicago, has signed an agreement with Big Ship Films, LLC to present SS United States: Lady In Waiting, an original one-hour documentary profiling the once iconic 20th century ocean liner. This ground breaking documentary is scheduled to premiere on US public-television stations in May.
The documentary has been in development for more than a decade and is being produced with the cooperation of the SS United States Conservancy, a national non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the ship and her legacy (
www.ssunitedstatesconservancy.org ).
The Conservancy has granted the producers exclusive access to their archives of stills, vintage films and home movies.  The documentary will follow the ship’s journey from being a mid-20th century technological and design marvel, to a largely forgotten vessel since she was laid up in 1969 with the onset of the jet age era of travel.
The program features compelling interviews with crew and passengers, archival footage, and reveals the ship’s top-secret design and capabilities. The ship still holds the east and west bound passenger ship speed record for a vessel of its size.
The ship is moored at a pier in Philadelphia, where the production team has been allowed access to examine her current state and explore the concept that she might again sail the seas. (In 2003, Norwegian Cruise Line purchased the vessel with the hopes of utilizing her in the future. The company still believes, says an NCL spokesperson, that the ship could have a great maritime future. Until a decision is made, NCL says it is taking good care of her.)
Lady in Waiting will have its world premiere aboard another famous ship of the past, the Queen Mary, now moored in Long Beach, California on May 3, 2008.
Los Angeles based Big Ship Films LLC, which is producing the film, represents the shared dream of director Robert Radler and producer Mark B. Perry, both of whom have had a life-long fascination with the story of the SS United States. When they joined
forces to produce the documentary, Big Ship Films was born. The company's name is a nod to the ship's designer, William Francis Gibbs, who always referred to his life's work as "The Big Ship." More information on Big Ship Films, LLC and SS United States: Lady In Waiting is available at www.bigshipfilms.com.

Norwegian Cruise Line Launches New Online Guest Feedback Initiative
NCL Corporation (NCL) is implementing a new comprehensive guest feedback process.  The NCL Guest Experience & Loyalty Scorecard is the new online system to collect, analyze and report guest feedback about the entire cruise experience. “We are committed to exceeding our guests’ expectations while delivering a superior cruise experience, so having this new guest feedback tool in place is of the utmost importance to our success,” said Colin Veitch, NCL's president and CEO.  “Guest feedback helped NCL shape the new Freestyle 2.0 cruise experience and we will continue to listen to our guests to measure the delivery and impact of those enhancements, as well as guide future product innovations within Freestyle Cruising.”
Once guests return home from their NCL cruise, they receive an email invitation allowing them to conveniently provide feedback on their entire cruise experience via a post-cruise online survey.  The web-based format, which takes the place of the on-board guest comment card, allows NCL to continuously listen to the voice of the guest and integrate that insight into further development of the NCL product and customer strategy.
The scorecard, which will be in place fleet-wide by mid-April, will help measure the impact of the new Freestyle 2.0 enhancements on board NCL ships. Norwegian Jade is the first ship to feature Freestyle 2.0 with a fleet-wide roll out implemented by June 1, 2008.

Silversea Renews Agreement With Relais & Châteaux, Its Culinary Partner
Silversea Cruises has renewed its culinary and marketing partnership with Relais & Châteaux, the prestigious international association of boutique hotels and fine dining restaurants, through 2009. Highlighting the partnership, now in its eighth year, will be the creation of new signature dishes for La Collection du Monde, a sampling of specialty dishes featured regularly on all Silversea cruises created through the collaboration of Jacques Thorel, Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux of L'Auberge Bretonne (La Roche-Bernard, Brittany) and Silversea's own master chefs.  
Other enhancements will include new wine-inspired menus for Silversea's Wine Restaurant by Relais & Châteaux, new cross-marketing initiatives, and the development of programs to ensure the highest quality gourmet dining experience for Silversea guests.  Both organizations will work closely together to design a collection of unique shore experiences with a culinary and wine focus. "We are very pleased with our Relais & Châteaux alliance," said Silversea president and CEO Amerigo Perasso.  "Our two organizations share a passion for quality and excellence achieved through exacting standards and this partnership allows us to work together to create new and innovative programs that will further enhance the cruise and dining experience for our guests."
A cornerstone of the alliance is Silversea's popular Culinary Arts program, showcasing the culinary artistry of Relais & Châteaux Grand Chefs.  Under the agreement, Silversea guests can expect to see additional new rising stars from Relais & Châteaux join an already impressive roster of acclaimed guest chefs that includes such luminaries as Anne Desjardins of L'Eau à La Bouche (Ste-Adèle, Québec) and Eyvind Hellstrøm of Bagatelle (Oslo).

Holland America Line Celebrates 135 Years In Business This Month
Holland America Line celebrates its 135 year anniversary in April 2008, marking more than a century of evolution for the once cargo and passenger line to the full-fledged modern cruise company it is today. Throughout its history, Holland America Line has carried more than 10 million passengers from Europe to the New World and to vacation destinations across the globe.   “Our company boasts a proud heritage of seafaring and brave actions throughout our history,” said Stein Kruse, president and chief executive officer.  “This includes carrying cargo and immigrants across the Atlantic, service to the allies during two world wars at a cost of many lives and ships, and helping to rebuild Europe after those wars.”
Holland America Line has been headquartered in Seattle, Washington, since 1983 and last year reopened a sales and marketing office in Rotterdam, Netherlands, the birthplace of the company on April 18, 1873, as the Netherlands-America Steamship Company (Nederlandsch-Amerikaansche Stoomvaart Maatschappij).   Holland America Line’s fleet of 13 ships offers nearly 500 cruises to 314 ports of call in 97 countries, territories or dependencies.  A 14th ship, the 2,104-guest ms Eurodam, will be delivered in June 2008. 
Through the years Holland America Line has changed much more than its name.  It has been a cargo line shipping goods from Europe on vessels powered by steam and sail.  It has transported thousands of immigrants to the United States and Canada in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It has supported the allies cause during two world wars and suffered the loss of its ships. Purchased by Carnival Corporation in 1989, the company grew to new heights, embarking upon a shipbuilding path that saw the introduction of 13 new vessels to the line’s fleet so far.

Cruise West Launches Learn to Earn Webinar Series
Cruise West has enhanced their Small-Ship Partner Program (SSP) to be even more robust.  A new Webinar Series, Learn to Earn, has been designed to improve knowledge of sales skills in general as well as specific Cruise West products, sales and marketing tools. Though designed for Small-Ship Partners to build on what they have already learned through the SSP program, this training opportunity, consisting of six individual live interactive modules, is open to all travel sellers. This program launches April 2008 and details and registration can be found on www.cruisewestagents.com.
Carol Parsons, sales coach and travel educator at Cruise West commented, “Travel Counselors are busy people, and they don’t always have a lot of time to devote to sharpening their skills. We designed the Learn to Earn series to provide our partners with ideas and motivations, as well as information that will help them be better sellers of travel overall and Cruise West superstars. In each of these one-hour sessions, we will explore topics, trends, best practices and the tools available that will enable front line agents to maximize their earning potential.”
Agency will receive three $50 bonus commission coupons to use on their first three post-certification bookings - just for completing the SSP.
For more information about Cruise West’s Learn to Earn and robust sales programs visit www.cruisewestagents.com.

Regal Celebration Welcomes ‘MSC Poesia’ On April 6 In Dover, UK

MSC Cruises newest ship, MSC Poesia was welcomed into the MSC Cruises fleet on April 6 in Dover when she was christened by godmother Sophia Loren, who had named the line’s last four ships. The latest in the line’s Musica class of ships was also welcomed by Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, representing the British Royal Family, while Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performed at the ceremony. This was the first time the Italian-owned MSC Cruises christened a new ship outside of Italy.
At 94,600 tons and 1,275 staterooms (with double occupancy for 2,550 guests), MSC Poesia measures 964 feet long (293.8 meters); 106 feet wide (32.3 meters); and travels at 23 knots (26.4 mph). The ship features five restaurants including a sushi bar, seven bars and lounges, two outdoor bars, 13 lifts, 16 decks, four conference
rooms, three pools, four whirlpools, a jogging route, shuffleboard, mini golf, sports center, disco, poker room, library, children’s play room, spa, and solarium 
MSC Poesia will be positioned in Venice for the summer of 2008, departing weekly for seven-night roundtrip cruises calling into Bari, Katakolon, Izmir, Istanbul and Dubrovnik.

‘Tahitian Princess’ to Be Renamed ‘Ocean Princess’
Tahitian Princess, one of the small ships in the Princess fleet, will be renamed in 2009, becoming Ocean Princess.  The new name is intended to reflect the ship's new deployment on worldwide itineraries.  The renaming will take place while the ship is out of service during a routine maintenance period in Singapore in November 2009.
"Tahitian Princess, along with our other two small ships, has developed a loyal following of passengers who enjoy a more intimate cruise experience, and also the opportunity to visit some off-the-beaten-path destinations," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales.  "As this ship is now sailing on itineraries around the world, we felt its name should reflect a more global theme."
Tahitian Princess joined the Princess fleet in 2002, and has been primarily deployed on sailings in the South Pacific, particularly French Polynesia and Hawaii.  Beginning this summer, the ship sets off on new worldwide deployments, featuring a Connoisseur's cruise in Alaska, a world cruise in early 2009 and a season of unique Northern Europe sailings next summer.  Following the 2009 renaming, Ocean Princess will sail on a series of Asia voyages to be announced separately.

New Cruise Vessel For Canadian Sailing Expeditions
Canadian Sailing Expeditions Inc. (CSE) has launched its sailing expedition cruise vessel Caledonia into the fast growing small ship cruise sector. The Canadian built, flagged, and crewed 245' Caledonia has now entered passenger service calling on the French Caribbean and Dominica. Its arrival in the Caribbean makes CSE the only Canadian cruise line that trades internationally. "We (CSE), are thrilled to be delivering a high quality Canadian product in the global cruise trade", says CSE President Doug Prothero, "the real satisfaction comes in having the opportunity to take travelers seeking unique experiences to out of the way places in a mode and style that exceeds their expectations!"
CSE offers seven day coastal cruising adventures in Canada and the Caribbean in the intimate setting of the Caledonia, a 77 passenger Canadian built adventure cruise vessel. The ship desalinates its own water, treats it sewage, buys provisions fresh from local suppliers, and is wind powered - a truly green cruise offering. Website:
www.canadiansailingexpedition.com

Star Cruises’ Offers New Training DVD  For Travel Agents
Travel Agents can now discover all there is to know about selling a cruise, with Star Cruises’ brand new interactive DVD. Designed to give agents an insight into the product and aid as a selling tool. Main features found on the DVD include useful ship, information on the ports of call, itineraries available, and details on the various cabin types as well as layout plans.  Mick Dupont, director of sales and marketing Europe, Star Cruises says ‘The DVD is a really effective way for agents to familiarize themselves with the Star Cruises ships. Real life images of the different cabin types and public rooms give a really good impression of an actual ship. Plus the ship facts are easy to access and will hopefully make selling a cruise inspiring, as well as simple and easy.’
Star Cruises is the only cruise line operating year round in Asia Pacific. For more information and to request a copy of the DVD, visit www.starcruises.com.

Seachefs To Run Hotel Management On Board MV Minerva
Seachefs, serving the maritime industry for almost ten years, has won Swan Hellenic Cruises as new client in the field of hotel management services on board MV Minerva. The hotel management also integrates procurement, F&B controlling and menu planning as well as restaurant and bar operation, housekeeping and laundry services, reception desk functionality and the purser’s office.
Seachefs specializes in complete hotel and ship management solutions for cruise ships, river-going vessels as well as ferries. Founded in 1999 the head office of seafchefs is located in Limassol, Cyprus, subsidiaries are in Hamburg/Germany and in Baar/Switzerland. Website: www.seachefs.com

Celebrity Cruises Revamps Smoking Policy
Beginning October 1, 2008, guests on Celebrity's ships will enjoy fresher air as a result of a new policy that disallows smoking in Celebrity's staterooms or on stateroom verandas. The policy also will reduce the number of public areas in which guests can smoke onboard. "We are proud to be the first premium cruise line to set a new standard toward creating an environment of cleaner air on our ships," said Celebrity Cruises President & CEO Dan Hanrahan. "We pay careful attention to what our guests have to say, and approximately 90 percent of them have told us they are non-smokers. By increasing the number of smoke-free areas onboard while still designating areas for those who smoke, our aim is to make the onboard experience as pleasant as possible for all of our guests."
Designated indoor areas where guests can smoke cigarettes include the port side of one lounge per ship and a designated slot machine area in each ship's casino. The new policy also designates outdoor areas where guests can smoke. These include the port side of the pool deck and sundecks on each ship, the port side of the Sunset Bar on Celebrity Century and on Celebrity's Millennium class of ships, and the port side aft outside of Winter Garden on Celebrity Galaxy and Celebrity Mercury.
Celebrity's new Solstice class of ships, launching with Celebrity Solstice late this year, will follow the new policy beginning with the first sailing. Celebrity Solstice's Lawn Club and the Sunset Bar at the Lawn Club will not allow smoking. Violations to Celebrity's smoking policy may result in a $250 cleaning fee charged to the guest's onboard account and may also be addressed through the line's guest conduct policy.
The new policy will go into effect on Celebrity's fleet in October.
Celebrity currently allows guests to smoke in staterooms, on stateroom verandas and in a number of indoor and outdoor public spaces. The exception is Celebrity Xpedition, the 92-person mega-yacht sailing year-round in the Galapagos Islands, which operates under a stricter policy than the rest of the fleet, allowing smoking only on the ship's outer decks, in designated areas.

Queen Elizabeth To Bid Farewell To the ‘QE2’
Her Majesty The Queen will make a farewell visit to Queen Elizabeth 2 in Southampton on Monday June 2, 2008. The Queen has visited QE2 twice since the her launch - on May 1, 1969, immediately prior the Maiden Voyage, and on July 27, 1990 to mark Cunard Line's 150th anniversary.
QE2, the most famous active ship in the world, and for 35 years the flagship of the Cunard fleet, was launched by Her Majesty at Clydebank on September 20, 1967. Since then QE2 has traveled over 5.6 million nautical miles, more than any ship ever; has carried over 2.5 million guests; has completed 25 World Cruises; and has crossed the Atlantic 802 times. She leaves Cunard's service in November 2008.
Details of the visit on June 2 will be announced shortly.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Names Vice President Of Newbuildings
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. named long-time maritime executive Christer Schoug as the company’s vice president of Newbuildings.
In his position, which is new to the company, Schoug will play a key role in the design and construction of new cruise ships within the Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Cruises and CDF Croisières de France brands.  Schoug will report to Harri Kulovaara, executive vice president of Maritime, and he will work in the company’s Newbuildings office in Miami.
Schoug has more than 20 years of experience in the maritime industry, most recently serving as managing director of Stena RoRo AB, a global shipping and ferry company based in Gothenburg, Sweden.  Previously, Schoug held a variety of key managerial and executive positions at Scandinavian Ferry Lines, of Helsingborg, Sweden, and Kockum Yards, of Malmo, Sweden.  In those positions he was responsible for the construction, renovation and operations of various cargo and cruise ferry ships.

Princess Crowns ‘Greatest Romantic’ After America Votes for Its Favorite Video
After a US-wide search by Princess Cruises asking "Are You the Greatest Romantic?," father of four and minister Phil Roberts of Lexington, Kentucky was crowned with the title after nearly 100 romantic hopefuls across the country submitted heartfelt videos nominating themselves or someone in their lives for the honor. The line's Department of Romance experts narrowed the field to five finalists, and then thousands of people voted for their favorite entry.
Roberts personally received the news from "Love Boat" star Gavin MacLeod ("Captain Stubing"), who is also part of Princess' Department of Romance.  "I was shocked and amazed when I picked up the phone this morning," said Roberts.  "The entry deadline was the 10-year anniversary of my proposal to my wife Lisa, and what better way to honor this special memory than to win a contest that helped me pay tribute to my wife and family."
MacLeod, together with the other experts in Princess' Department of Romance, selected the five finalist videos they felt best embodied romance, along with creativity and originality.  The other department members include  Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the always-provocative couples therapist; Alex Michel, the first "Bachelor" on ABC's hit show; Trish McDermott, vice president of love at Engage.com; and Lisa Light, destination wedding expert and author.
After Roberts is officially inducted into Princess' Department of Romance, his story, advice and podcast will be featured on www.princess.com/romance.  In addition to becoming one of the line's romance ambassadors, he will also receive a seven-day cruise for two to the Caribbean or the Mexican Riviera.

Star Cruises’ ‘Superstar Virgo’ Begins First Ever Season From Hong Kong
Star Cruises’ SuperStar Virgo has repositioned to Hong Kong where she will operate a series of sailings out of Hong Kong until  October 19, 2008.
In this inaugural season, SuperStar Virgo will operate a series of destination cruises to Xiamen and Sanya in China and Halong Bay in Vietnam. There will also be four special cruises to Keelung, Taiwan in April, June, July and September.

Early Booking Amenities Available Until May 31 For HAL’s 2009 Grand Voyages
In 2009, three Holland America Line ships — ms Rotterdam, ms Prinsendam and ms Amsterdam — will offer four distinct Grand Voyages ranging from 50 to 117 days that span the globe. Guests who make full-cruise reservations by May 31, 2008, will be privy to a host of early booking amenities to enhance their cruise experience.
Early Booking Amenities vary depending on cruise and cabin category, and may include first-class or economy air, limo or Motorcoach transfers, shipboard credit, pre-paid gratuities, luggage delivery, an exclusive shore side event, initial in-suite bar set-up and a bottle of champagne.
Guests can choose from four Grand Voyages in 2009: Rotterdam’s Grand World Voyage departing January 19, the Grand South America Voyage departing Jan. 2 and the Grand Mediterranean Voyage departing March 11 aboard Prinsendam, and Amsterdam’s Grand Australia and New Zealand cruise departing September 26.

Fuel Surcharge Increase Announced For Discovery Cruises
Voyages of Discovery announced that effective now, it will increase its fuel surcharge for summer and fall cruises to $10 per person, per cruise night. The increase will be applied to new bookings on the Discovery from May 10 to November 4.

Holland America Line Publishes Guide To Towel Origami
Holland America Line cabin and stateroom stewards long have delighted guests with a menagerie of critters crafted from Egyptian cotton towels as the final touch to the nightly turndown. Folding to such popular demand, Holland America Line has published “Towel Creations – Holland America Line 40 Designs,” a four-color, step-by-step guide on how to shape a seahorse or fashion a frog via the skills of the ships’ deft towel origami artists.
The 88-page book retails at $14.99 and is sold onboard all HAL ships at the Front Desk.

 

 

 

April 2, 2008

Carnival To Rescind Fuel Supplement For Guests Booked Prior To November 7 Carnival Corporation & plc has announced a voluntary refund of the company’s fuel supplement for applicable US bookings that were made prior to November 7, 2007, under an agreement with the Florida Attorney General’s Office. The fuel supplement, announced November 7, 2007, was applied to all US bookings for voyages departing on or after February 1, 2008, regardless of when the booking was made, for cruises on the Carnival Corporation & plc brands Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and The Yachts of Seabourn.  However, this effective date allowed guests already booked at the time of the announcement the opportunity to cancel and receive a full refund.
The company will now refund the fuel supplement for those guests who were already booked at the time the supplement was announced. Refunds for affected guests will be implemented based on cruise departure date according to the following schedule:
For cruises departing on or prior to April 4, 2008, guests will receive a refund in the same form they used to purchase their cruise. For cruises departing from April 5, 2008 through June 23, 2008, guests will receive an on-board credit. For cruises departing on or after June 24, 2008, guests’ bookings will be adjusted to remove the supplement.
The fuel supplement remains in effect for all bookings made on or after November 7, 2007.  The $5 per person per day fuel supplement applies only to the first and second guests in a stateroom and will not exceed $70 per person per voyage.  Also, at the time the fuel supplement was announced, travel agents whose clients had existing reservations were offered $10 per booking in administrative compensation for notifying those clients of the supplement.  Those travel agents will still receive the $10 per booking.

Eurodam Websites Allow Sneak Peeks For HAL’s New Vessel
For background information on Eurodam, visit www.hollandamerica.com  for videos, photographs, animation and renderings that breathe life into a virtual tour of a ship yet to sail the seas. Content on the site is arranged around Holland America Line’s five brand pillars essential to the guest experience—elegant ships and accommodations, sophisticated dining, gracious service, extensive activities, compelling itineraries. Eurodam ship renderings and animation are used in combination with photos and narrated videos from other Holland America Line ships to give visitors an idea of what it will be like to set sail aboard the 2,104-guest Eurodam.
In addition, there is a dedicated blog accessed at http://www.eurodamnews.com where the latest photos o the ship undergoing her sea trials are displayed as well as related trivia. 

RCI Hunts For First-Ever British Godmother For ‘Independence Of The Seas’
Royal Caribbean International has launched a nationwide search for a British Godmother to reign over the cruise line’s newest and largest ship, Independence of the Seas, when she launches in Southampton in April.
Sir Steve Redgrave, five-time Olympic gold medalist and figure head of the Steve Redgrave Fund, is fronting the cruise line’s search for Independence of the Seas’ Godmother.  Royal Caribbean International began its nationwide call for Godmother nominations, March 24, 2008, working in conjunction with ITV, the UK’s biggest commercial television station.
All potential Godmothers must be nominated via a dedicated website  www.searchforagodmother.co.uk. To enter, applicants must explain in 250 words or less why they, or someone they know, would be the ideal Godmother for Independence of the Seas.  A special panel of judges including Royal Caribbean International executives, guest judges and Sir Steve Redgrave, will select the ships’ Godmother.
In addition to being godmother to Independence of the Seas, where she will have a formal portrait of herself displayed onboard the new ship, the woman selected will receive an honorary role in the official ship naming ceremonies, including participation in the ribbon-cutting and a VIP experience onboard Independence of the Seas’ inaugural voyage. She also will receive a decade of cruising for two with Royal Caribbean International.

New Inaugural Sailing Date For ‘Ruby Princess’ Set For November 8
The new Ruby Princess will be delivered earlier than previously expected, announced Princess Cruises. The line's next new ship will now debut one week prior on November 8, 2008, creating a new inaugural voyage, a seven-day Western Caribbean sailing taking passengers to Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Princess Cays.
Passengers booked on the ship's previously scheduled inaugural cruise on November 15 will have the opportunity to change their booking to the new November 8 sailing if they wish.
The 113,000-ton vessel will feature an inaugural season of Western Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, followed by a program of Mediterranean voyages in summer 2009. Fares for the maiden Ruby Princess season begin at $699.

Princess Cruises to Host First-Ever Live Opera Transmission at Sea
In an industry exclusive event, Princess ships will become the first cruise vessels ever to broadcast a live performance from the Metropolitan Opera in New York.  The special The Met: Live on the High Seas presentation of Puccini's La Bohème will be held on Saturday, April 5 as part of the Met's series of eight opera performances that are transmitted live via satellite to movie theaters around the world (The Met: Live in HD).

This unique experience will be offered across Princess' 16-ship fleet.  On vessels equipped with Movies Under the Stars, passengers can enjoy a unique "Opera Under the Stars" event, as they take in the production on the giant poolside LED screens.  Other vessels will show the broadcast in the Princess Theater.  "It's quite unusual to be able to sit by a pool in the Caribbean and watch a world-class opera live from New York," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president.  "We're very excited to be breaking new ground with this first-ever live Metropolitan Opera broadcast at sea.  It's a rare opportunity to present our passengers with such an enriching cultural experience included in their cruise."
The Met: Live in HD was launched during the 2006-07 season as part of the Met's new mission to revitalize the art form and to attract new and larger audiences to opera.  The initiative expanded from six to eight opera transmissions in 2007-08, and also includes distribution in New York City public schools.  Global distribution of the series triples this season to reach more than 600 participating venues in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.  France and New Zealand join the international network on April 5.
The digital broadcast of the Met's first-ever live event at sea is being made possible by MTN Satellite Services, a division of SeaMobile Enterprises.

Holland America Line Offers More Spring Seminars For Travel Sellers In 2008
Holland America Line has increased the number of its popular Spring Seminars for travel sellers from 101 in 2007 to 105 this year.  The 90-minute seminars will be held from April 3 through May 28. They are designed to help travel professionals generate more cruise bookings by educating them on Holland America Line’s Signature of Excellence programs, group booking strategies and many useful sales tools, including Travel Agent Headquarters and POLAR Online.
The 105 seminars will be held across 33 states and four Canadian provinces; several will be onboard Holland America Line cruise ships in coastal cities. “These seminars are designed to provide travel professionals with highly practical knowledge on how to grow their cruise business,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs.  “In particular, the seminars show travel agents how to increase lucrative group sales and how to target groups that produce the most profit, both for them and their agencies. Also, agents get credit towards the Holland America Line Academy agent training program by attending one of these informative seminars.”
Seminar reservations are for travel sellers only and are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.  Those interested in attending must provide the attendee’s name, name of travel agency, IATA/CLIA number, business phone number and seminar city, date and location.  Some locations are limited to two or three attendees per agency IATA.
Travel sellers may RSVP online at www.travelagentheadquarters.com or by phone at (800) 355-3019.

New ‘MSC Poesia’ Features Environmental Innovations
MSC Cruises, to be launched this week, is the first in the world to use a new, unique patented foul release coatings system known as Intersleek® 900. MSC Cruises is the first company to apply this revolutionary biocide free, foul release coatings system onto a newly built cruise ship. Applied to the underwater hull, this system will not just benefit the environment through reduced carbon dioxide emissions, fuel efficiency, paint consumption and the leaching of biocides but also enhances performance.
Other the key environmental features are:
-- MSC Poesia is fitted with fuel tanks with the highest standard of equipment for the treatment/retention of oil and fuel wastage, based on MARPOL restrictions.
-- Energy saving: The cruise card doubles as the on/off switch for electricity and air conditioning in the stateroom. The system disables certain lights, hairdryers and air conditioning when the cabin is unoccupied. This process conserves energy and reduces gas emissions that contribute to the greenhouse effect.
-- Bunker: The ship’s fuel mixture is treated by depurators before being burned by the engines, thus generating energy, reaching a limit of pollution less than 1.5%. The emissions are purified to guarantee the minimum impact on the environment and health, complying with the BLUE FLAG agreement, signed by the authorities of Venice.
-- Refuse: On board all waste is treated, including aluminum cans which will be recycled into sheet aluminum at port. In fact, more than 15 tons of aluminum cans were recycled by MSC Cruises in the second half of 2007 alone! On board the ship there are also environmentally friendly incinerator units for both wood and paper.
-- Cleaning products: All the detergents and soaps on board MSC Poesia are naturally produced and supplied by companies with an environmentally friendly certificate. The waste water containing soap is purified and fully cleaned before being discharged.
MSC Cruises’ commitment to the environment is reflected by the numerous certificates it has been awarded:
   
Same-Day Editions Of Over 370 Newspapers To Launch On ‘Crystal Serenity’
Crystal Cruises is introducing Newspaper Direct, a same-day service enabling guests to receive a choice of more than 370 full-format newspapers from 65 countries.  Effective immediately with the World Cruise on Crystal Serenity and later in the year on Crystal Symphony, the papers are ordered on board and delivered directly to one's room. "Guests can access news through the Internet, but some travelers savor sitting on deck with a newspaper.  They appreciate the connection with their hometowns - from keeping up with local politics and financial news to sports and the social scene," says Thomas Mazloum, Crystal Cruises' senior vice president, hotel operations. 
Newspaper Direct uses satellite communications to create full-format, same-day editions of an extensive menu of worldwide newspapers. In addition to 74 U.S. editions and more than 40 from the U.K., the extensive menu includes options from the world's highest circulation publications to small, hometown news. US publications include New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe and  
Chicago Tribune. International selections include Canada's Globe and Mail, Great Britain's Daily Telegraph, Australia's Sydney Morning Herald,  Japan's Okinawa Times, and Brazil's O Globo
The service will offer multiple publication choices from many of the regions.  Many papers are offered daily, while some are offered only on selected days. Papers are available for $6.50 each, with a full list of selections and order forms in every stateroom. 

Star Clippers Unveils Enhanced Website
Star Clippers has made several enhancements to its website, including new virtual-reality tours of the ships and a video featuring Star Clipper, Star Flyer and Royal Clipper.
Visitors browsing www.starclippers.com now will be able to take home a piece of the line from the newly opened Sloop Shop, which carries a selection of clothing sporting the Star Clippers name. The site also has a new area dedicated solely to travel agents and journalists, giving them access to a wealth of information specific to their unique needs.
For visitors desiring a closer look at the Star Clippers ships, virtual-reality tours provide a 360-degree view of cabins, public rooms and life on deck. Numerous vantage points cover practically every inch of deck space, including spectacular panoramas from the bow. The Star Clipper/Star Flyer tour can be viewed full-screen for those who want to see every detail.

MSC Cruises Renews Its Partnership With Friends Of Venice Association
MSC Cruises has renewed its membership with the Friends of Venice Association for 2008. This association distinguishes the contributions made by member companies to promote the city and enhance the city’s image.  
As it did in 2007, MSC Cruises will once again sponsor the city’s annual Carnival and the Historic Regatta; and for the first time, the city’s 2008-09 New Year’s Event.
“We are once again showing our commitment to this city as we will use it as a home port for our newest ship, MSC Poesia, to be christened in April 2008, said Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO for MSC Cruises. 
The collaboration between MSC Cruises and Venice will take place on various levels as the company has received from the Mayor of Venice, Massimo Cacciari, the Venice Blue Flag. This award recognizes MSC Cruises’ efforts to safeguard the environment. This voluntary agreement, underwritten by MSC Cruises, significantly reduces carbon emissions as the ships transit through the lagoon of Venice, from the Lido to the Maritime Station.

Costa Cruises Opens New Hotel Training Academy In Jakarta
Costa has opened a new hotel training academy in Jakarta, Indonesia for its shipboard personnel. The academy will be run in collaboration with Meranti Magsaysay Institute (MMI). 
The new academy is devoted to the education of personnel on Costa’s ships employed in the restaurant, housekeeping, galley and bar areas and will be managed in collaboration with MMI, which is emerging as a global driving force in hospitality training.
The new Jakarta Costa Cruises academy plans to educate 1,300 new hires a year, mainly students from local hotel training schools. As a result, the number of Indonesian personnel working on Costa’s ships will increase from 1,200 to 2,000 in 2008.  At present, Indonesians account for nearly 14 percent of Costa’s employees fleetwide – 49 percent come from the rest of Asia, 18 percent from Central and South America and 13 percent from Italy.  From 2008 to 2012, Costa Cruises plans to recruit a total of 12,000 new hires.
Costa Cruises currently has six training schools located around the world.  Five out of six are dedicated entirely to the training of shipboard personnel and are run directly by the Italian company or as joint ventures with leading local universities.  Four of them – one in the Philippines, Indonesia, India and Brazil – train hotel personnel, accounting for approximately 80 percent of the shipboard employees, while another training institute in the Philippines is devoted to deck and engine crewmembers.  In addition to these five schools, Costa Cruises also has its own training center, located in the company's Genoa headquarters, which teaches technical and managerial skills to all of Costa’s shoreside and shipboard employees.

Cunard Launches New Australian Website
Cunard Line has launched a new Australian website packed with information on its 2009 world voyages, following unprecedented interest in the wake of its ocean liners’ recent visits to Australia.
Found at www.cunardline.com.au/wc2009 , the website provides detailed information on Queen Mary 2’s Epic Expedition and Queen Victoria’s Exploration of Distant Horizons 2009 world voyages, including available sectors and cruise fares in Australian dollars.
Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia which operates Cunard Line in Australia, said the new website would give Australian passengers the same kind of dedicated information provided to the larger United States and United Kingdom cruise markets.

Quark Expeditions Adds World’s Largest Icebreaker To Fleet
The newest addition to the Quark Expeditions fleet is the largest, most sophisticated, and powerful icebreaker ever constructed.  Twenty years in the making, 50 Years of Victory will debut June 23 on its maiden voyage to the North Pole.
Built in Russia, the vessel is the first Arktika-class icebreaker (built by the Russian government and operated by Murmansk Shipping Company) to have a spoon-shaped bow. The new automated digital control system increases efficiency.   The ship, designed with a stainless steel ice belt 5 meter (18 feet) wide, breaks through ice up to 2.5 meters (9.2 feet) thick.  It is driven by two nuclear reactors that product 75,000 horsepower.  In open water, top speed can be as much as 21.4 knots.
 50 Years of Victory will depart on June 23, 2008, July 6 and July 19 for the North Pole. The first two departures are 16-days in length, and the third is 17-days to accommodate the viewing of a total solar eclipse.

RCI Offers New Deployment Resource for Travel Professionals
Royal Caribbean also has enhanced the www.CruisingPower.com website to give travel agents a central online repository for current and upcoming deployment openings. Travel professionals can visit the new deployment micro-site from any computer with an Internet connection, and view and download the latest deployment flyers and itineraries at www.cruisingpower.com/royalcaribbeandeploymen. Agents can use drop-down menus based on product or ship, or click on a region on a world map for more information about Royal Caribbean’s cruises and itineraries.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises Announces New Entertainment Lineup For 2008
Regent Seven Seas Cruises has completed a multi-million dollar upgrade of entertainment programming aboard three of its ships, including the addition of professional ballroom dance teams, new productions featuring “The Regent Singers and Dancers,” and the largest live orchestra aboard any luxury cruise line.
In celebration of the ballroom dance craze sweeping the nation thanks to “Dancing with the Stars™” and other programs, several of the new shows feature professional ballroom couples performing original choreography showcasing Latin, swing, waltz and other dance styles. The dancers even offer complimentary lessons for guests on days at sea.
The new shows include new cabaret revues and five new feature productions for each ship, all with live music by the orchestra and a permanent cast of up to ten singers and dancers (shorter cruises typically feature three production shows; longer cruises feature four or five).
A new highlight aboard Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Navigator this year is the musical “Breaking Up is Hard to Do,” with music by legendary singer-songwriter Neil Sedaka, whose signature tenor voice produced a string of Billboard hits in the 1950s and 60s. Seven Seas Voyager features another show, “Romance Romance,” for added variety and texture.
In addition to the new shows, Regent will continue to offer a roster of headline entertainers throughout the year, as well as specialty programs like James Bond Martini Night, Beatles Night, a live disco show and all-new production shows tailored to each ship.

New Website Promotes ‘MSC Orchestra’s Arrival In US
MSC Cruises is including a dedicated section with travel agents in mind on its new website, www.theorchestraiscomingtotown.com. A special section of the site is devoted to the needs of the travel-agent community and includes sales and marketing tools (such as flyers, banners and e-mails) to assist them with selling MSC Orchestra and MSC Lirica, which will also be sailing the Caribbean in winter 2008-09. Additional tools will be added throughout the year-long celebration.
Visitors to the new website will find information about the ship, including an extensive slide show and flash presentation complete with factoids.
MSC Orchestra will sail alternating seven-night roundtrip itineraries January 3 through

Cunard’s Liner Notes Premieres On US Public Radio
Cunard Line has introduced Liner Notes to US public radio. The new literary travel series explores fascinating destinations and thought-provoking ways that travel can be experienced and enjoyed.
Hosted by cultural wunderkind Paul Holdengräber and recorded with notable and knowledgeable guests over lunch at the Captain's table aboard Queen Mary 2, the series of themed, one-hour shows takes listeners on a journey of wit, wisdom and wanderlust, exploring destinations as they have been imagined and as they exist in literature, painting, film, music and myth..  "Liner Notes further demonstrates an intuitive connection with our guests' interests and intellect and delivers entertainment parallel to our award-winning onboard enrichment programs" said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line. 
In the tradition of the legendary Algonquin Roundtable gatherings, the conversations will raise themes related to travel, for example "falling in love with a place" "the benefits of wandering" "lost in translation" and "ex-patriot dreams." Interviews with travelers and locals will deepen the exploration of a place in fact and in fantasy.
More information on Liner Notes program schedules is available at  www.cunard.com/linernotes

Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Cruises Name New Senior Vice President, Marketing
Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises have named hospitality executive Wayne Wielgus senior vice president of Marketing. In his new role, Wielgus will be responsible for the two brands' overall marketing efforts, including brand strategy and development, advertising, web marketing and research. Wielgus will report directly to Dan Hanrahan, president and CEO of the brands.
Wielgus has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 25 years. Previously, he was executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Choice Hotels International, where he provided strategic leadership for global marketing and reservations for more than 5,300 hotels in over 42 countries.

Fincantieri Announces Earnings Of €45 Million For 2007
Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri announced earnings of €45 million for 2007, down slightly on the €52.4 million posted in 2006. Fincantieri said its earnings would have been more than double that figure save for exchange rate fluctuations, estimating the negative impact of currency movements on its 2007 results at a hefty €50 million
Currently celebrating the 100th anniversary of its flagship Monfalcone yard, Fincantieri also garnered a record €4.2bn in new orders taking the order book to €12bn or three years’ work for its portfolio of Italian yards. Those new orders included five ships for Carnival group brands, for which Fincantieri is effectively the house builder, among them the 92,000-gt Queen Elizabeth for Cunard in addition to three luxury vessels for Silversea and Oceania cruise lines, a brace of cruise ferries for Grimaldi Naples, four patrol boats for the Iraqi navy, eight supply vessels for Hartmann Logistic and a second megayacht for an unnamed owner.
Founded by the Cosulich brothers in April, 1908, the Monfalcone shipyard has survived to become one of the world’s great cruise shipyards, starting with the Oceanic for Home Lines and the Eugnio C for Costa in the 1960s. It has now built 24 of the 44 cruise ships constructed by Fincantieri and has been assigned six of the 21 cruise

Vintage Holland America Line Posters Available On Website

Hull poster 1936
Holland America Line’s most popular historical posters are available now for purchase in the online shop at www.hollandamerica.com.  Six different designs can be ordered and made on demand into high-quality art reproductions for $175 each.
The designs range from a circa 1895 design promoting a crossing between Paris and New York, to a circa 1955 design with Lady Liberty in the foreground promoting a crossing to New York. The popular 1898 Brighton Joy print with a woman holding a ship aloft is also available.
Artistic reproductions of the original posters are done on Somerset Velvet museum quality paper.   Posters are 24-inches x 36-inches and printed using Giclée ink-jet technology for high-quality art reproductions. This modern method uses special inks to produce incredibly true colors without the dot pattern associated with offset lithography.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Voluntarily Revises Fuel Supplement
After working closely with the Florida Attorney General’s office, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced it has voluntarily agreed to eliminate its fuel supplement on any bookings made prior to the announcement of the fuel supplement on November 16, 2007.
Royal Caribbean will eliminate the fuel supplement for any guests who had a booking made prior to November 16.  Guests booked before November 16 who paid the fuel supplement and have taken their cruise will receive a refund through the form of payment used to purchase their sailing.  Guests booked before November 16 who paid the fuel supplement and have not taken their cruise will receive their refund as an onboard credit during their sailing.
As originally announced, the company did not charge the fuel supplement to guests with bookings made and paid in full before November 16.  It will now eliminate the fuel supplement for guests with bookings made but not paid in full before that date.  These latter guests were also provided with a three-week period in which to cancel their sailing without penalty.
The company has been in discussions with the Florida Attorney General’s office to ensure the fuel supplement was implemented in a fair and reasonable manner.  
The fuel supplement, which remains in place for North American bookings made on or after November 16, 2007, involves three Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises.  The fuel supplement consists of a $5 per-guest, per-day charge for sailings that depart on or after February 1, 2008.  The fuel supplement applies only to the first and second guests in each stateroom and does not exceed $70 per person per sailing.

UK Cruise Industry Announces 11 Percent Growth Year On Year
The Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) announced another record year for the UK cruise industry with its latest research revealing 1.3 million Brits took a cruise in 2007 -- an 11% increase on 2006.  The latest statistics also reveal that the number of Brits cruising today is double that of ten years ago with accelerated growth predicted over the next couple of years. 
Speaking at the March Seatrade convention in Miami, William Gibbons, director of the Passenger Shipping Association, said that last year showed a significant growth for the UK cruise industry, but this year is poised to be even better with the launch of twelve new or refurbished ships. “We can expect this trend to continue in 2008 with a huge increase in cruising capacity in the UK from news ships including Fred Olsen’s Balmoral, P&O’s Ventura, Royal Caribbean International’s Independence of the Seas, Cunard’s Queen Victoria, NCL’s Norwegian Jade, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Splendor and MSC’s Armonia. This is in addition to Swan Hellenic reintroducing its brand to the UK market and Transocean increasing their capacity with cruises from Tilbury with Marco Polo. With the number of new and refurbished ships specifically aimed at the UK market we can expect to see an increase to 1.5 million British passengers in 2008.
2007 saw an increase of 2% on ex-UK cruises with 460,000 Brits choosing to cruise from the UK, however the biggest growth was the fly-cruise market with a significant increase of 17% from 2006. 
The Mediterranean retained its position as the number one choice for UK cruise passengers with a 21% increase on visitors to the region in 2007. The Caribbean also remains a popular choice with a 6% increase and 17% share of the cruising market. The Far East and Australia also showed a 51% increase, highlighting that the British public are increasingly choosing cruising as a way to explore further a field destinations.
The PSA celebrates its 50th year anniversary in 2008 and now has 37 members representing 41 cruise brands. Gibbons added “With the increasing number of new build ships, diversity of product and ever increasing demand from the British public, the future of cruising looks very promising.”

QE2's Farewell Season Marked by Poignant Final Calls 
As Cunard Line's famed QE2 continues her farewell season - the iconic ship's 40th year since her maiden voyage - her final year with the fleet will be highlighted by a series of poignant voyages, including three calls in favorite North American ports that are expected to draw an outpouring of well-wishers.  Widely considered the most famous ship in the world, QE2 has logged more than 5.6 million nautical miles (equivalent to traveling to the moon and back 13 times), carrying over 2.5 million passengers.  The regal ship will complete her service for Cunard Line in November 2008 as the company's longest-serving liner.
Her final visits to Los Angeles (March 30), Ft. Lauderdale (April 10) and New York (Oct. 16) will be duly celebrated by Cunarders, with her final New York departure marked by commemorative festivities, as Cunard's historical North American connection is strongest here. "From 1847, when Cunard's Hibernia first sailed into New York, to today, the city has been an integral part of Cunard's history," said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line. 
There is limited space available on QE2's final voyages.  For more information about QE2 or Cunard Line, contact your travel professional, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to www.cunard.com.

Princess Selects 5 Finalists in "Are You the Greatest Romantic?" Video Contest
Confirming that romance knows no boundaries, the five finalists of Princess Cruises' "Are You The Greatest Romantic?" video contest include a grandmother married 40 years, a minister and father of five, couples married only a few years and a hopeless romantic just getting serious with his love.  The finalists were selected by the line's Department of Romance, and the public can now vote for their favorite entry.  The largest number of votes will determine who is crowned "The Greatest Romantic," which will be announced on April 15.
Nearly 100 videos were submitted in the contest, which began on Valentine's Day, and the entries were judged by Princess' Department of Romance members which include actor Gavin MacLeod, The Love Boat's "Captain Stubing;" Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the always-provocative couples therapist; Alex Michel, the first Bachelor on ABC's hit show; Trish McDermott, vice president of love at Engage.com; and Lisa Light, destination wedding expert and author.  The panel selected the five videos they felt embodied romance, along with creativity and originality.
The public now has the chance to log onto www.princess.com/romance  and vote for their favorite entry. The finalist with the most votes will join the Princess' Department of Romance for one year and be featured on the company's website offering their sage romantic advice through articles and a special podcast. The winning romantic will also receive a seven-day cruise for two to the Mexican Riviera or the Caribbean.  Additionally, one lucky person will win a seven-day cruise just for voting for their favorite video.

New CFO for Aker Yards ASA
Ole Heggheim has been appointed as new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Executive Vice President for Aker Yards ASA, succeeding Leif Borge.
Heggheim has previously been Executive Vice President for business development in Aker Yards ASA. Heggheim has since March 1 also been constituted as Managing Director for Aker Yards ASA while a new President and CEO for the Group is being recruited after Yrjö Julin's resignation.
Ole Heggheim has a strong experience from senior management positions. Since 2004, he has been part of the top management team in Aker Yards, and also a director at the board of all the Group's main subsidiaries. His role has included corporate financing, mergers and acquisitions, including the successful acquisition and integration of new yards in the Group. He has previously been Vice President of Corporate Finance in both Aker Kvaerner ASA and PGS ASA, and has also worked as a market analyst in the USA.

 

 

March, 20, 2008

 

CDF’s First Ship Debuts In May

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s new cruise line, Croisieres de France (CDF) is based in France . In April CDF will take delivery of its first ship, the Bleu de France, which currently cruises as Holiday Dream with Pullmantur, the Spanish cruise line purchased by Royal Caribbean in 2006. The ship will undergo a $46 million makeover in Barcelona, to be tailored to French travelers before entering service in Marseille in May.

After starting life as the original M/S Europa for Hapag Lloyd, Holiday Dream was sold to Star Cruises. In 1999 the Europa was renamed M/S SuperStar Europe and a year later M/S Superstar Aries. In 2004 Star Cruises sold the ship to Pullmantur where she became the Holiday Dream. Currently the 37,012-ton Holiday Dream carries 752 passengers.

 

2008 Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention Miami Deemed A Huge Success

The 24th annual Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention ended its four-day meeting in Miami this month with participants calling it a resounding success. The global exhibition and conference drew nearly 11,000 attendees and more than 1,000 exhibiting companies from more than 111 countries. Early returns indicate the attendance was up significantly this year, running at almost 11 percent above last year, which has brought a surge of exhibition bookings for the 2009 event. "This was the most innovative and positive event we've staged yet," said Michael Kazakoff, vice president of CMP Princeton Inc., the convention organizers. "Cruise Shipping Television, or CSTV, debuted this year, featuring scores of exhibitors. We also implemented a new conference VIP Pass program that was extremely popular, and we held the first-ever Travel Agent Thursday @ Seatrade Cruise Shipping."

The conference featured the fourth annual International Super Yacht Symposium with a two-day series of sessions held in conjunction with the convention. Returning for a second year was the Superyacht Pavilion dedicated to suppliers of the superyacht industry.

Debuting at this year's conference, Travel Agent Thursday, a new travel trade education program, allowed agents to attend the trade show, see the latest shipboard trends and gather valuable destination information. Organized by CMP Information in cooperation with Cruise Line's International Association, the day included two educational sessions offering points toward CLIA certifications.

Conference sessions covered pertinent industry issues including shipbuilding and design, destination development, shipboard management, technology and the future of the cruise industry.

The 25th annual Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention is scheduled for March 16 to19, 2009 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Highlights from the four-day event:

Cruise Line Execs Express Reserved Optimism About The Industry
At the opening session on The State Of The Industry, a panel of six cruise line executives overwhelmingly expressed confidence in the industry's ability to weather the current economic downturn, during a state-of-the-industry session. The tempered vote of confidence was based on the perceived value of cruising, globalization and the ability to move ships around not only to Europe but also to emerging destinations such as South America and Asia. Indeed, the industry is contracted to build 43 ships with 106,000 lower berths representing a $25 billion investment. Between now and 2010, a new ship will be delivered on an average of every 32 days, moderator
Chris Hayman, chairman of Seatrade Communications, told the standing-room-only
crowd. “We have a history of being recession resistant, not recession proof,” said Daniel Hanrahan, chairman of Cruise Lines International Association’s marketing committee and president and CEO, Azamara Cruises and Celebrity Cruises. He cited a CLIA survey of travel agents in February that showed 86 percent expect sales this year to be as good or better than last.
Carnival Cruise Lines CEO Gerry Cahill reminded attendees that cruising is a discretionary product. “No one has to take a cruise,” he said, adding that market concerns have affected the cruise industry. “The stock prices for publicly traded cruise companies are reflecting those fears.” However, he added that the cruise market has historically shown resilience to past periods of economic downturn, and expected this time would be no different. “There is no vacation that offers the same value as a cruise,” he said. “We will fare well compared with other discretionary consumer products.”
The other executives agreed, and pointed to the value of a cruise vacation. “We are selling cruises today at the same rates as when I entered the industry,” said Stein Kruse, president of Holland America Line. “We’re in a little dip but as far as long-term prognosis, it’s very rosy.” NCL Corp. CEO Colin Veitch said that cruise industry fundamentals are very strong. Colin Veitch did not feel the industry needed to be overly concerned about an economic downturn, as fundamentals for cruising remained good, with an ageing population with high disposable income. “Royal Caribbean president Adam Goldstein believed that the industry’s message that it provided value for money was one of the most valuable assets it had.
Rick Sasso, chief executive of MSC Cruises (USA) told delegates that the cruise industry’s stamina to deal with every adversity in 40 years of growth had been extraordinary. North America, he said “is and has been the most penetrated market but North America is still under-penetrated. ‘’ Drivers for the future included the extensive investment being made in new tonnage. MSC alone has invested E4bn in the last three years, he said. Cruise passenger were now getting ships with twice the space per passenger than 20 years ago, he said, and the variety of brands available meant that there was something to suit every lifestyle.
If deployment of capacity in the Caribbean has dropped somewhat this year, most speakers agreed that the region remained the best cruising place in the world although there were opportunities to balance Caribbean business with other markets. If cruise lines decided to put ships into the European market rather than leaving them in the Caribbean, this was less a sign of lack of confidence in that market but a sign of confidence in Europe, Veitch said.
Putting cruise ships into Asia is another area that the cruise lines are considering, although pricing might be an issue, as was the amount of time people take for holidays. Veitch said his company’s personal interest was developing in Europe but for those companies already in Europe, Asia would prove an interesting market for development.
On the ship- building sector
If European yards continue to dominate in the cruise shipbuilding sector, speakers felt that there was no reason why this should not change, but at the moment the Far Eastern yards were fully occupied with building ships for other sectors of the shipping industry. Tackling issues like cutting down on fuel and handling waste needed to be addressed in the shipbuilding context.
Stein Kruse, chief executive of Holland America Line said that given the currency challenge presented by a weak dollar and a strong euro, shipbuilding propositions from Asian yards would be attractive. However he felt that while the “skill sets” were available, Asian yards were not quite there in terms of availability of sub-contractors.
On escalating fuel prices:
There was little to suggest that current high fuel prices would change, Stein Kruse said and the cruise industry was under pressure to find ways of conserving fuel, whether by the use of distillates, cold ironing, hull coatings or emissions trading.
lloydslist.com
Luxury Cruise Segment Predicts Significant Growth
At the Upscale Cruising conference at Seatrade, the focus was primarily on the
quickly expanding luxury segment of the cruise market and the keys to attracting
affluent cruisers. For Seabourn Cruise Line, the line will see a significant increase in capacity with the introduction of three new luxury yachts carrying 450 guests each. Frank Del Rio, chairman and CEO of Prestige Cruise Holdings that operates
Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises, sees two main challenges:
controlling the growth given the weak dollar and product differentiation. “Be ahead of the curve with new products,” said Del Rio. “Don’t just recycle or copycat others, which we see too much of in this industry.”
Ponant Cruises saw the potential for growth in the global upscale cruise market
and introduced a luxury line in France. Their success is attributed to the emotional experiences they create for their guests, such as offering a champagne toast while
rounding Cape Horn. “Experience is a word until you’ve lived it,” said Eric Lustman, senior vice president, for Ponant. “Our clients are our best sales people and we have to capitalize on it.”
Radical Design Planned For NCL F3 Ships
Speaking at a press conference at the recent Seatrade convention in Miami. Colin Veitch President and CEO of NCL, teased the audience with a few signaled that the new F3 ships on the drawing board will be different. There will be no Lido Deck cafes, no main theaters and no main dining rooms, he said, adding that passenger cabins will also different, featuring innovative changes not readily recognizable to today’s mainstream cruise goers. The F3 design will expand elements of Freestyle Cruising, including the premium Courtyard Villas.
Known as the F3 project, the  two 150,000-gross-ton ships carrying over 4000 passengers are scheduled for delivery in 2010 and 2011.
US Coast Guard Sets New Balcony Rules Deadline
New requirements for passenger cabin balconies become effective July 1, 2008 the US Coast Guard reminded ship operators at a meeting at Seatrade. “We want to see the partitions that actually separate one balcony from another are made of non-combustible materials,” said Lt. Cmdr. Douglas Simpson, chief of the major vessel branch of the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Center. The rules also include primary deck coverings, ceilings and linings. Some of the regulations apply only to ships built after July 1. Existing vessels are expected to comply with the new rules by the end of their first survey on July 1.

Caribbean Princess Returns To New York In Summer 2009
Princess Cruises has announced that Caribbean Princess will return to New York in Summer 2009 for a second season of the line's popular roundtrip sailings to Bermuda and the Caribbean. The ship will then change directions in late summer to head north for a season of roundtrip Canada & New England sailings.
In total the ship will offer 20 sailings on two primary routes from New York - including a nine-day journey heading to the pink sands of Bermuda and the resort atmosphere of Grand Turk, and a week-long voyage to the rich history and colorful scenery of New England and Canada's eastern provinces.  The ship also offers a special seven-day cruise from San Juan to New York.

Queen Beatrix Of The Netherlands To Name HAL’s New ‘Ms Eurodam’
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands will name Holland America Line’s new Signature-class ship, ms Eurodam, in a ceremony in Rotterdam on July 1, 2008.  The 2,104-guest ship is being built by Italian shipyard Fincantieri-Cantieri Navali Italiani S.p.A. in Marghera, Italy. “The upcoming naming ceremony of ms Eurodam will be a very special moment in our company’s proud 135-year history,” said Stein Kruse, president and chief executive officer, Holland America Line.  “We are truly honored that Queen Beatrix will name our new ship.  This special dedication will take place steps from our historic headquarters as well as our current European head office.  Like her mother did 50 years ago for the beloved ms Rotterdam V, Queen Beatrix will be the Godmother and name the largest passenger ship ever to fly the Dutch flag.”
Holland America Line has a long relationship with the Dutch Royal Family when it comes to naming its ships.  Nine vessels have been launched by members of the Royal Family, including the Statendam III in 1929 by Prince Hendrik; Nieuw Amsterdam in 1937 by Queen Wilhelmina; Statendam IV in 1957 and Prinses Margriet in 1964 by then Princess Beatrix; Rotterdam V in 1958 by Queen Juliana; and Prinsendam in 1973, Nieuw Amsterdam in 1983, Rotterdam VI in 1997 and Oosterdam in 2003 by Princess Margriet.
The naming ceremony on July 1 will include festivities along Wilhelminakade, Rotterdam’s cruise ship terminal area, in front of the former headquarters of Holland America Line, which is now Hotel New York. The company was founded in 1873 in Rotterdam. 

Silversea's Newest All-Suite Ship To Be Named ‘Silver Spirit’
Silversea Cruises has announced that its newest all-suite ship will be named Silver Spirit.  Currently under construction at Fincantieri's Ancona shipyard, the 540-guest vessel is scheduled to join the fleet in late 2009.  Renowned Italian architect Giacomo Mortola is overseeing the design of the 36,000-ton, ultra-luxury vessel.  With a total of 270 all ocean-view suites, the new ship will maintain the line's reputation for intimate yet spacious ships and will increase the number of accommodations in the most popular suite categories.  Silver Spirit will feature more of the quick-to-sell-out Silver Suites, with a total of 26, and more Veranda Suites, 222.  There will also be six Grand Suites and two Owner's Suites.  All but 12 suites will have verandas.  
Plans call for an exciting new supper club, offering sumptuous gourmet cuisine served in an intimate, club-like ambiance, and a new Asian restaurant.
The new ship will also feature those dining venues that have become favorites of Silversea guests, such as The Restaurant, the elegant main dining room; The Wine Restaurant, where the menu celebrates the most rarefied vintages; and the Pool Grille, offering casual poolside dining.  

Royal Caribbean Announces Eight Ships For 2009 Europe Cruise Season
Royal Caribbean International today announced the planned deployment of a record eight ships to the region for the 2009 summer and fall seasons. Vacationers can select from itineraries ranging from four to 14 nights aboard some of the world’s most innovative cruise ships: Independence of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s newest Freedom-class ship; two Voyager-class ships, Navigator of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas; as well as Brilliance of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Legend of the Seas, Splendour of the Seas, and Vision of the Seas.
Totaling 70 distinct itineraries and 87 ports of call in 32 countries, Royal Caribbean will offer vacationers unprecedented choices throughout the Mediterranean Sea, Northern and Western Europe and a variety of transatlantic sailings in 2009.

Major Refurbishments Planned For Silversea's ‘Silver Cloud’ And ‘Silver Wind’
at the Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention in Miami Beach, Florida, ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises announced major dry-dock refurbishments planned for its 296-guest sister ships Silver Cloud and Silver Wind to bring their interiors in line with the style of its newest ship, the 540-guest Silver Spirit (scheduled for delivery in December 2009). For Silver Wind , the month-long refurbishment will take place this November and Silver Cloud's in May 2009.
  Plans for both ships call for major suite upgrades, including new bathrooms, carpets, flat screen TVs and other appointments.  Verandas will also be spruced up.  And virtually all public spaces and corridors will see substantial enhancements of furnishings and carpets.
Most dramatic of the upgrades, however, will be the addition of a new ocean-view spa and fitness center on Deck 9, a new Observation Lounge, eight new large suites on Decks 7 and 8, reduction of Vista Suites on Deck 4, and a new guest elevator connecting Decks 8 and 9.

Royal Caribbean May Build Fourth Freedom-Class Ship
Aker Yards and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced that have reached an understanding regarding the basis on which Royal Caribbean will order a fourth ship in the Freedom class, currently the world's largest cruise ship. The vessel would be delivered in the second half of 2011. The placement of the order is still subject to a number of conditions, including board approval and finalization of terms and conditions.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Voluntarily Revises Fuel Supplement
After working closely with the Florida Attorney General's office, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd announced it has voluntarily agreed to eliminate its fuel supplement on any bookings made prior to the announcement of the fuel supplement on November 16, 2007.
Royal Caribbean will eliminate the fuel supplement for any guests who had a booking made prior to November 16. Guests booked before November 16 who paid the fuel supplement and have taken their cruise will receive a refund through the form of payment used to purchase their sailing. Guests booked before November 16 who paid the fuel supplement and have not taken their cruise will receive their refund as an onboard credit during their sailing.
As originally announced, the company did not charge the fuel supplement to guests with bookings made and paid in full before November 16. It will now eliminate the fuel supplement for guests with bookings made but not paid in full before that date. These latter guests were also provided with a three- week period in which to cancel their sailing without penalty.
The fuel supplement, which remains in place for North American bookings made on or after November 16, 2007, involves three Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises. The fuel supplement consists of a $5 per-guest, per-day charge for sailings that depart on or after February 1, 2008. The fuel supplement applies only to the first and second guests in each stateroom and does not exceed $70 per person per sailing.
  
Germany’s TUI Cruises Gets OK From European Antitrust Regulators
The joint venture between Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and German tour operator TUI AG received approval from Europe’s antitrust regulators on March 10, 2008 to create a premium cruise brand for the German market. RCCL and TUI will each have a 50 percent stake in the joint venture.
TUI is based in Hamburg, Germany. Richard Vogel, a manager at TUI, will serve as CEO of TUI Cruises. TUI Cruises' first sailings are scheduled to begin in May 2009.

Celebrity Cruises To Give ‘Celebrity Galaxy’ Star Treatment
Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Galaxy will undergo an approximately $4-million makeover during its scheduled drydock in Freeport, Bahamas, from April 18 through May 2. During that time the ship’s two-level main dining room will be completely refurbished, with new, contemporary carpeting, reupholstered and newly varnished chairs, new waiter stations, and entirely new floor-to-ceiling columns. The adjacent RendezVous Lounge will be enhanced with entirely new upholstery, as will the Martini Bar, one of the Celebrity brand’s most popular signature spaces.
In addition, the Celebrity Theater will be completely refurbished, with new carpeting and upholstery throughout as will the Stratosphere Lounge – an observation area by day and dance club by night. The casual dining and buffet areas will be entirely revitalized, with new chairs, carpeting, upholstery and lighting.
Contemporary new carpeting will be laid in 250 staterooms, and new sinks and new upholstery will complement the same work that already has been completed in the balance of the ship’s staterooms.

AIDA Cruises Issues New Cruise Brochure

AIDA Cruises has issued its new yearly catalogue AIDAtime 2009/2010 and is now accepting bookings on all AIDA cruises from March 2009 to May 2010. The 179-page catalogue covers cruises in the regions of South-East Asia, North America, the Caribbean, Dubai, the Canaries, the Mediterranean, Western Europe, Northern Europe and the Baltic Sea. The six ships operated by AIDA on 58 routes with 123 dream destinations promise even more variety than before.

Yrjö Julin Leaves CEO Position At Aker Yards ASA
Yrjö Julin has with immediate effect left the position as CEO of Aker Yards ASA. The Chairman of the Board Svein Sivertsen will in an interim period act as CEO, until a permanent CEO has been recruited.
Svein Sivertsen, Chairman and acting CEO comments: "We present weak and disappointing results for 2007. The Board believes that it is important to have a new CEO to reestablish confidence with all stakeholders and that we can put the operational challenges behind us.  We have a very capable and experienced crew at Aker Yards, and we have a record high order backlog. I am confident that we will see improvements through 2008."

Maurice Zarmati Named President & CEO Of Costa Cruise Lines—North America
Maurice Zarmati has been named president and CEO of Costa Cruise Lines—North America. Zarmati, who is currently vice president of sales for Carnival Cruise Lines, will assume his new role beginning March 31, 2008. An accomplished sales executive, Zarmati has been with Carnival Cruise Lines since 1972, leading one of the largest and most successful sales teams in North America.
In his new role as president and CEO of Costa Cruise Lines—North America, Zarmati will report directly to Gianni Onorato, president of Costa Crociere, and will be responsible for all sales and marketing efforts for Costa’s North and Central American regions. This includes sales development, marketing, revenue management, finance, human resources and passenger services. In the interim before Zarmati begins his position, Joni L. Rein, vice president of sales development and Ruben Perez, vice president of passenger services, will oversee all main functionalities of the Costa North America office.

Terry Thornton Promoted To Senior VP Of  Marketing & Planning For Carnival
L. Thornton has been promoted to senior vice president of marketing planning for Carnival Cruise Lines, the world’s largest cruise operator. In this capacity, Thornton oversees the revenue management and strategic marketing departments for the brand.  In addition, Thornton is responsible for overseeing ship deployment and itinerary planning for the cruise line’s existing 22-ship fleet, in addition to vessels under construction, which currently includes three scheduled for delivery over the next three years. 
Thornton first joined Carnival in 1989 as a special projects manager in the marketing area and eventually rose to the position of vice president - marketing planning in 1992.  Thornton has worked in the cruise industry for more than 30 years, including prior marketing and finance positions with Norwegian Cruise Line, Sea Goddess and Windstar Cruises.

NCL Announces Several Key Organizational Moves
To further demonstrate NCL Corporation's commitment to its new Partnership 2.0 and Freestyle 2.0 initiatives, which involve major changes to the way NCL does business with its travel partners and significant enhancements to its on-board product, the company announced several key organizational moves.
Terri Burke, currently vice president, business development, is assuming the newly created position of vice president, industry relations. In this new role, she will be responsible for ensuring that NCL stays abreast of the fast-paced changes within the distribution system and the wide range of successful agency models. She will also make certain that every travel partner in North America understands the full impact of Partnership 2.0 and Freestyle 2.0, both for them and their guests.
Vivian Ewart, a seasoned cruise travel industry veteran with 25 years of management experience, will join NCL as vice president, passenger services on March 17. Most recently, Vivian served as senior vice president and general manager at CruiseOne/Cruises Inc. where she spent the past 10 years in positions of increasing responsibility. In her new role at NCL, Ewart’s immediate focus will be on the continued implementation of Partnership 2.0, ensuring that this initiative has a major impact on the day to day experience of travel agents working with NCL.
As the company prepares for the successful launch of its two new F3 ships, NCL is assembling a dedicated team who will be responsible for the planning and launch of these ships. Amy Hiles-Maynard, currently NCL's vice president of marketing, has been named vice president, F3 marketing. Amy is well-suited for this position having worked on a number of new generation ship launches during her 20-year marketing career, along with the successful launch of NCL's new brand identity. A search is underway for a vice president, marketing to replace Amy in her current role overseeing marketing efforts for the existing NCL fleet and brand.
NCL's Vice President of Corporate Communications and Media Promotions Susan Robison has been named vice president, F3 public relations. In this new role, Susan will draw on her experience of launching nine new NCL ships during her seven years with the company, including the recent very successful launch of Norwegian Gem, along with her more than 18 years of experience in public relations.
NCL's Director of Public Relations AnneMarie Mathews will assume responsibility for the public relations department.

NCL Corporation Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results for 2007
NCL Corporation Ltd. ("NCL" or the "Company") reported a year-over-year increase in total revenues of 9.9%, from $2.0 billion in 2006 to $2.2 billion in 2007, and a 12.7% increase in net revenues, on a 10.3% increase in capacity. Net Yields for 2007 increased 2.1% from the prior year, while Gross Yields declined 0.3%. Operating income for the Company increased 29.6% from the prior year, from $32.6 million in 2006 to $42.2 million in 2007. The Company reported a net loss of $227.0 million for its year ended December 31, 2007, as compared to a net loss of $130.9 million for the prior year. Results for the year ended December 31, 2007 include non-cash foreign exchange translation losses of $94.5 million compared to non-cash foreign exchange translation losses of $38.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2006, or an adverse year-over-year impact of $55.6 million. Also negatively impacting 2007 net results was a $40.9 increase year-over-year in net interest expense due to increased borrowings following deliveries of the Company’s new ships, Pride of Hawaii (now Norwegian Jade), Norwegian Pearl, and Norwegian Gem.
For the fourth quarter of 2007, the Company reported a net loss of $133.0 million on total revenues of $497.5 million, compared to a net loss of $116.0 million on total revenues of $449.5 million for the same period in 2006. The increase in revenues was primarily attributable to a 4.0% increase in Capacity Days and an 11.0% increase in Net Yields. Driving the increase in Net Yields was higher ticket pricing, an increase in onboard spend and increased occupancy levels. Gross Yields increased 6.4% from the fourth quarter of 2006. Occupancy for the fourth quarter of 2007 was 104.0% compared to 100.2% in the same quarter of 2006.
The impact of higher interest expenses and the weakening of the U.S. dollar continued to impact the Company’s results during the fourth quarter of 2007. As a result of an increase in the Company’s average outstanding borrowings, interest expense increased 30.0% or $11.7 million. With the Euro/U.S. Dollar exchange rate increasing to 1.4590 as of December 31, 2007, the Company reported non-cash foreign exchange translation losses of $30.0 million for the fourth quarter. These non-cash foreign exchange translation losses compare to non-cash foreign exchange translation losses of $14.0 million for the same period of 2006, or an adverse year-over-year swing of over $16.0 million. "With the addition of our new shareholders, the implementation of Freestyle 2.0 and Partnership 2.0 and a successful refinement of our strategy in Hawaii, we look forward to a promising year in 2008," said Colin Veitch, president and chief executive officer of NCL Corporation Ltd. "The improved financial condition of the Company following the $1.0 billion equity investment by Apollo has given us the opportunity to expand on the success of our brand with a further upgrade of our onboard product on what is now the youngest, most innovative fleet in the industry. We also expect to benefit financially from the steps taken with regards to NCL America operations. The further reduction in capacity coupled with the stabilization of our staffing is expected to enable us to make this unique offering within the second half of the year."

RCI Offers New Deployment Resource for Travel Professionals
Royal Caribbean also has enhanced the www.CruisingPower.com  website to give travel agents a central online repository for current and upcoming deployment openings. Travel professionals can visit the new deployment micro-site from any computer with an Internet connection, and view and download the latest deployment flyers and itineraries at www.cruisingpower.com/royalcaribbeandeployment . Agents can use drop-down menus based on product or ship, or click on a region on a world map for more information about Royal Caribbean’s cruises and itineraries.

February 27, 2008

Latest ECC Report Signals Europe  as New Cruise Hub

More news at
New Ships
Cruise Itinerary News/Offers
Expedition/Eco Cruises
River/Barge News
River/Barge Offers

 

Oceania Cruises Provides A Peek At Its New Oceania-Class Ships
Oceania Cruises released the first design details this month of its new Oceania-Class ships that are scheduled for delivery in 2010 and 2011. The ships, to be constructed in Fincantieri’s Sestre Ponente shipyard in Genoa, Italy, have been designed by the world’s foremost architects of luxury ships, Y&S Architecture and Interior Design of Oslo, Norway. Y&S has been retained to design all of the public spaces, suites and staterooms, and Gunnar Aaserud, a Partner and Executive Architect at Y&S, who has done extensive work on the line’s Regatta-Class ships, is leading the design team for the Oceania-Class.
The new ships will be awash in rich, dark woods, Italian marble, lustrous granite, fine wool carpets and sumptuous leather. No expense is being spared to create an array of spacious, yet intimate public spaces and luxurious staterooms and suites. “These new ships are a very personal expression of this brand as many members of our team are personally involved in the selection of furnishings, fabrics, artwork and the thousands of minute details that make the difference between an ordinary ship and a masterpiece,” stated Frank Del Rio, Chairman and CEO of Prestige Cruise Holdings. Click New Ships for the details.

‘Norwegian Jade’ To Homeport In Europe Year-Round
NCL Corporation has announced that for the first time in the company’s 41-year history, it will deploy a ship year-round in Europe.  The 2,400 passenger Norwegian Jade will sail a variety of itineraries in Europe year-round, extending its inaugural season in Europe that begins on March 30, 2008. The ship will now remain in Europe full time through to the spring of 2010 instead of the current seasonal deployment that was to end in November 2008.  “We’ve seen strong growth in Europe and Freestyle Cruising has been a big success with our European guests,” said Colin Veitch, NCL’s president and CEO.  “Norwegian Jade has been very well received in her first season, and our full three-ship fleet in Europe is doing so well that we are now confident in committing a ship year-round to this strongly growing market.  With one of our newest and largest Freestyle Cruising ships in Europe sailing a year-round variety of port-intensive itineraries, we can now offer an exceptional cruise experience any time of the year for our guests who want to enjoy all that Europe has to offer.”
As part of this year-round deployment, NCL is introducing three new European itineraries – a series of 12-day Eastern Mediterranean sailings and nine-day Canary Islands and Morocco sailings, along with a 14-day Eastern Mediterranean holiday cruise, all roundtrip from Barcelona.
Norwegian Jade’s new European sailings from November 2008 through April 2009 go on sale March 3, 2008. The balance of the new deployment through to spring 2010 will be opened for sale shortly thereafter.  
Guests booked on Norwegian Jade’s Transatlantic and New York sailings
For guests booked on Norwegian Jade’s 12-day transatlantic sailing or seven-, ten- or 11-day sailings from New York from mid-December through April 2008, NCL is offering the opportunity to move their reservations to comparable sailings on Norwegian Gem. Guests who make the change will receive full price protection and a $100 on-board credit per person (maximum $200 per stateroom).  Additionally, NCL will pay for air changes fees (up to $100 per person) or hotel cancellations fees (up to $50 per room) for guests who booked air or hotels on their own.  Air and hotel booked through NCL will be protected at the original rate.  Guests who choose to sail on a different NCL sailing (other than the one offered) will receive a $50 on-board credit per person (maximum $100 per stateroom) on another voyage.  Guests who instead wish to cancel will receive a full refund.
 Guests booked on the December 12, 2008 two-day weekend getaway will receive a full refund and a $25 per person future cruise credit certificate.
NCL representatives are available at 877-474-2960 Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm ET to assist guests and travel partners with existing reservations on Norwegian Jade’s transatlantic and New York sailings.  Travel partners with group reservations should call NCL at 877-474-2968.  All changes must be made by March 14, 2008. After that time, all existing reservations will be cancelled.

AIDA launches European Cruise Academy
The Rostock, Germany-based cruise company AIDA Cruises announces the formation of an educational establishment. It will be named European Cruise Academy and will be headquartered in Rostock, Germany. The content of the academic education will be realized in cooperation with the University of Technology, Business and Design in Wismar.
The demand for well-trained employees and executives has risen strongly and the aim of the Academy is to train maritime students for employment in the cruise industry. The focus of the European Cruise Academy will be on the nautical-technical area on board a cruise liner. Initially, the academy offers a Master’s degree course. The first classes already start on September 1, 2008, in line with the beginning of the new academic year. Nautical, technical and electro-technical Bachelor’s degree courses and further educational opportunities follow, starting with the winter semester 2009/2010.  
Industry and education experts will lecture at the academy. Contents will be taught in English, which makes this course of study interesting for international cruise companies as well. Excellent prospects in top positions on board a cruise liner as nautical, technical and electro-technical officers till up to chief engineer and captain wait for the graduates.
Students with appropriate qualifications that are interested in the Master’s degree course can contact Tino Hensel, Director Human Resources Management Fleet at AIDA Cruises for further information, using the following number: +49 (0) 381 / 444-0. 

Azamara Cruises Introduces New Enhanced Website
Azamara Cruises has revamped its website. Now, site visitors can browse Azamara's full range of cruise and cruisetour itineraries and shore excursions, access current pricing and available dates, and book directly from the site. Doing so creates a "My Azamara" account, which also provides users with the ability to view a summary of all of their on-hold and booked cruise reservations, add pre- and post-cruise tour packages, view and modify transportation arrangements (including custom-booked air travel), view and modify reservations linked to other travelers in their party, view and modify preferred dining arrangements, make payments and complete online check-in. "After a successful launch of www.azamaracruises.com at the end of last year, we quickly responded to consumer expectations by adding online booking functionality and a host of other tools that reflect the deluxe experience onboard our ships," said John Husak, associate vice president of Marketing, Azamara Cruises.
The website— www.azamaracruises.com —also features a new virtual ship tour with interactive images, as well as 360-degree views of all stateroom categories, enhanced ship-deck information, details about the experience onboard Azamara's ships and in the ports and cities to which they sail, and facts about pre-and post-cruise stays in various destinations.
Members of Azamara's loyalty program, "Captain's Club," can edit their membership profile online and eligible guests who want to sign up can experience real-time enrollment. Cruisers also can access a feature that allows them to create and maintain a personal profile that includes their favorite itineraries and personal and emergency contact details.

‘easyCruiseOne’ Is Up For Sale is for sale (asking price 14 million EUROS)
easyCruise has announced that its easyCruiseOne flagship is now up for sale. Asking price is €14million. The company is looking to replace the vessel with a larger one that would begin cruises along in 2009.
easyCruiseOne will operate with easyCruise in the Aegean and Ionain Sea until the end of the current season that ends in October 2008.
The company says it is looking for another ship to join easyCruise Life which starts cruising on 19 April 2008. easyCruiseLife represents the ideal size of ship for easyCruise, being small enough to visit off the beaten track Greek islands yet big enough to offer more accommodation options (including suites), better restaurant, lounge, pool, spa and other facilities.

NCL Completes Several Enhancements As Part of Partnership 2.0
NCL Corporation (NCL) announced today that it has completed a number of enhancements as part of, the company’s major travel partner initiative that was announced in December.  Partnership 2.0 involves major changes to the way NCL does business to strengthen its relationships with travel partners, at all levels. The initiative has been driven by quantitative and qualitative feedback from travel partners and has been enabled by Apollo’s billion dollar investment in NCL and Star Cruises continued commitment and vision.
NCL has put in place a Partnership 2.0 Steering Committee, led by NCL’s Senior Vice President of Revenue Management and Passenger Services Crane Gladding, and comprised of business process owners from various areas within the company, including four former travel agents with more than 55 years of experience among them.  This team is leading the implementation of changes and recommending future enhancements that will make NCL better partners with the travel partner community. 
Enhancements completed and implemented to date include the processing of group commissions five weeks earlier; providing additional training for NCL reservation agents on line policies and products; improved credit card processing policies; and the elimination of close to 1,000 promo codes to ensure travel agents get the same price quote every time they call in. With regard to suite and villa bookings on board, a 24-hour option has been added on the booking of suite and villa categories (A1-A4, including AA).
In addition to the changes announced, the Resolution Desk, a cross-functional team with diverse backgrounds who are fully empowered to resolve issues, is currently in a beta-testing phase and is scheduled to be formally introduced in early March. Early feedback from travel partners who have utilized the Resolution Desk has been positive.

Silversea Announces Its New Expedition Ship To Be Named HSH Prince Albert II
Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises announced today that its new expedition ship (originally acquired as World Discoverer II) will be renamed HSH Prince Albert II, in tribute to Prince Albert of Monaco.  
The name is fitting for a ship that will be dedicated to the exploration and conservation of the planet's oceans, wildlife and indigenous cultures.  The Principality of Monaco, aside from being the world's capital of wealth and luxury -- and home to Silversea's global headquarters -- has long been recognized as a leader in marine environment research.  Prince Albert I, a pioneer in oceanographic science and exploration, first explored the Arctic's Svalbard archipelago in the early part of the last century, and founded the world renowned Oceanographic Institute.  In 2006, Prince Albert II plotted a similar course on part of his journey to the North Pole, in an effort to add to the scientific body of work started by his ancestor -- and to draw attention to the effects of global warming on the Arctic regions.  As a result, the Prince is the first incumbent head of state to have reached the northern most point on Earth. "We are deeply honored to have our new expedition ship named after His Serene Highness Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco," said Manfredi Lefebvre, Silversea's chairman.  "His passion for environmental conservation is well known and we are committed to supporting his mission by offering travelers the chance to discover and appreciate some of the world's most remote and unspoiled regions."
When Silversea's adventure ship sets sail on June 12, following a naming ceremony in Monte Carlo, it will herald the beginning of a new mode in exploration cruising for upscale cruising. Cruise reservations are now being taken. Click New Ships for ship details.

Fincantieri To Build Two Ships For Compagnie des Iles du Ponant
This month Fincantieri and the French owner Compagnie des Iles du Ponant (CMA CGM Group) signed a preliminary agreement to build two super luxury ships. The two ships will be similar in size to megayachts, a ship type Fincantieri has recently started developing and which is now achieving its first commercial successes.
The 10,500-ton ships, which will fly the French flag, will be approximately 140 meters long and 16 meters wide. Passengers will be accommodated in 134 ocean view cabins and suites of which 75 percent will have a private balcony. Delivery is due in the first half of 2010.
By drawing on cutting edge technologies the ships will be built also with due regard to environmental concerns, an important issue since their reduced scale will enable them to reach harbors and destinations inaccessible to larger vessels. The interior furnishings of these luxury ships will be designed on “a human scale”, with great attention to detail.
The Compagnie des Iles du Ponant, founded in 1988, belongs to CMA-CGM Group, third biggest ship owning group in the world and the first in France in the container transport sector. Based in Marseille, the company has a fleet of three cruise ships and serves the super luxury market mostly for the French trade.

American Safari To Begin Hawaiian Inter-Island Cruises              
American Safari Cruises is taking its newest yacht, the Safari Explorer, to Hawaii for seasonal inter-island cruising in the waters less traveled on an eight-day, seven-night itinerary. Cruises will focus on traditional Hawaiian culture and will offer opportunities for guests to get to know local residents by visiting their land and their homes. The all-American crew will include Hawaii residents (captains, naturalists) who have knowledge of the area, said American Safari.
American Safari Cruises inaugural Hawaii cruise season is December19, 2008 to May 9, 2009. The Safari Explorer will return in November 2009 to begin its second season. More itinerary details on Expedition/Eco Cruises.

Cruise Lines Named In Lawsuit For Collusion in Fixed High Fuel Surcharges
According to press reports, seven cruise companies as well as the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association are named in a lawsuit on charges of fuel charges collusion. The companies named in a lawsuit filed by a New York-based law firm on behalf of a New York resident, reportedly include Royal Caribbean Cruises, Carnival Corp, Norwegian Cruise Line, Ambassadors International, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Silversea Cruises and Oceania Cruises.
Florida's attorney general is currently reviewing whether cruise lines adequately disclosed surcharges they started billing passengers this month to offset rising fuel prices.

Discovery Cruise Line Alters Sailing Schedule for March
Discovery Cruise Line, which offers fast ferry service with cruise line amenities between South Florida and Grand Bahama Island every day of the week except Wednesdays, announced that it will be sailing on Wednesday, March 12 and on Wednesday, March 19, 2008.
Hanns J. Hahn, General Manager of Discovery, explained that "This year the month of March features spring break for college students as well as Easter. It is also a busy period for short vacations as well as a time when Bahamians visit friends and relatives in South Florida. For these reasons, Discovery wants to accommodate people who want to travel to Grand Bahama and South Florida during the month also on those two Wednesdays."

‘Pride of Aloha’ To Be Transferred To Star Cruises For Asia Deployment
NCL Corporation has announced the withdrawal of Pride of Aloha from the Hawaii market effective May 11, 2008. The ship is being transferred to Star Cruises and will be re-flagged and deployed in Asia in the summer of 2008.
The remaining year-round ship in Hawaii will be the larger and newer Pride of America, introduced in 2005, a vessel specifically designed and built for Hawaii cruising. The company has put on sale, Pride of America’s sailings through 2010 offering its popular inter-island cruises departing every Saturday from Honolulu. Commenting on the Pride of Aloha withdrawal, NCL’s President and CEO Colin Veitch said: “Our Hawaii business has been extraordinarily difficult, and although we have progressively established a stable operation, delivering a good product in a great destination, the overall price level in the market has been driven down, to a significant degree, by an unprecedented expansion of capacity from low-cost foreign-flag ships based on the west coast operating domestic Hawaii itineraries that the Customs Service has indicated are legally the preserve of US flag ships.”
For guests booked on Pride of Aloha from May 11, 2008 and beyond, NCL is holding space and will offer the same cruise fare as they currently have paid on their Pride of Aloha cruise if they would like to transfer to the same week on Pride of America, departing one day earlier.  In addition:
-- Guests will receive a $100 per person on-board credit (up to $200 per stateroom).
-- For guests who made their air and/or hotel arrangements through NCL, NCL will protect the rates they currently have paid and cover any air or hotel change fees.
-- For guests who purchased their own air, NCL will protect up to the first $100 per person of any increase in air costs and cover up to $75 per person in air change fees. 
-- For guests who made independent hotel arrangements, NCL will cover any hotel change fees up to $25 per person.
Guests may book any other NCL cruise and receive a $100 per person on-board credit (up to $200 per stateroom) if they rebook by March 7, 2008.  In addition, NCL will cover up to $75 per person in air change fees and up to $25 per person in hotel change fees. Guests may cancel their cruise and receive a full refund if NCL is notified by March 7, 2008.  After March 7, 2008 cancellation fees will apply in accordance with NCL’s cancellation policy.
Possible Revision Of US Cabotage Laws A Major Factor In NCL’s Decision
A current review of current cabotage laws by US Customs is weighing new rule-making that would require foreign-flag operators sailing round-trip from US ports to spend at least 48 hours in a foreign port and devote more than half the cruise to foreign-port content. US officials made the proposals in response to their alarm about the withdrawal of Pride of Hawaii, which is currently in wet dock in Los Angeles being transformed into Norwegian Jade. A decision is expected shortly.
NCL’s President and CEO Colin Veitch said he hoped to be able to return to two ships operating out of Hawaii by reintroducing Pride of Hawaii once the US cabotage laws, now under review, are clarified and restored. “We have invested heavily in US flag cruising in reliance on our nation’s cabotage laws providing a level playing field in Hawaii,” Veitch commented. “Our remaining ship, Pride of America, is generating an encouraging profit now, and we project a continued improvement in this one-ship operation as the unique nature of Hawaii, from a cabotage standpoint, is clarified and restored.” 
Pride Of America’s Deployment Announced Through 2010
Following a 14-day scheduled dry dock in Hawaii from April 26, 2008 to May 10, 2008, Pride of America will sail its four main island itinerary with a change in order of ports including an overnight in Nâwiliwili, Kauai; an afternoon cruise of the breathtaking Nâpali Coast; Hilo, Hawaii; an evening sail by Mount Kîlauea; Kona, Hawaii; and an overnight in Kahului, Maui. All of the Freestyle 2.0 enhancements will be rolled out on Pride of America during the ship’s dry-dock.
Renovations Being Executed On New Norwegian Jade  (ex Pride of Hawaii)
In 2007, NCL America announced that the Pride of Hawaii was being transferred temporarily out of the Hawaiian fleet to service in Europe. Renamed Norwegian Jade, the ship is undergoing refurbishment at a California drydock before commencing cruises under her new name. Enhancements include a major investment in the total dining experience; upgrading the stateroom experience; new wide ranging on-board activities for all guests; additional recognition, service and amenities for balcony, suite and villa guests; and the establishment of casual action-station restaurants taking the place of the traditional buffet experience. The refurbishments are part of a fleetwide initiative to enhance the cruise experience to the next level.

‘Independence’ Sails Off To Singapore Fate Undecided
The Independence made its final departure from a US port earlier this month. The 57-year-old ocean liner left its berth in San Francisco en route to Asia, its fate undecided.
Press reports say she is headed to a scrapyard.
Norwegian Cruise Line, which bought the vessel for a reported $4 million in 2003, sold it to an interim purchaser, which renamed the ship the Oceanic and is sending the ship to Singapore to be sold for scrap. NCL bought the Independence along with the United States, another U.S.-flagged ocean liner, in 2003, but the Independence was said to be in worse shape than the United States.
The Independence is a sister ship to the Constitution, an ocean liner that sank while being towed to Asia to be scrapped in 1997; that ship had also been renamed the Oceanic.

Prestige Cruise Holdings Acquires Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) announced this month that the acquisition of the cruise line by New York-based Apollo Management LP (Apollo) from Minneapolis-based Carlson has been completed.  Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.
Concurrent with the closing of the transaction, the board of Prestige Cruise Holdings, Inc. (PCH), an Apollo subsidiary and parent company of RSSC, announced that it has provided RSSC management the authority to enter formal discussions with shipyards for a newbuild, with a view to placing a firm order during the second half of 2008 for delivery in 2011. While specific details need to be finalized, management’s initial concept for the new ship calls for a vessel of similar dimensions and guest capacity to the 700-guest all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner, but with larger standard suites, an enhanced spa, more dining venues and expanded dining options.
“PCH is extremely satisfied with RSSC’s current performance in terms of occupancies, yields, profitability, product acceptance and recognition,” said Frank Del Rio, chairman and CEO of PCH.  “Given the continued growth of the luxury market, the new ship will allow RSSC to add capacity to meet the anticipated demand, and to offer a more diverse range of deployments to include additional longer, more exotic voyages,” he added.
“These are exciting times for us,” said Mark Conroy, president of RSSC.  “Having led our organization since the first year of its operation in 1992, it is personally gratifying to me to see not only how far we have come, but how much further we can go.  Adding a new ship to our fleet will reinforce our position as the world’s leading luxury cruise line and enable us to offer our guests and travel agent partners a wealth of new destinations and amenities,” he added.
As previously announced, RSSC and Oceania Cruises will be placed under the ownership of PCH.  RSSC in the luxury segment, and Oceania Cruises in the upper premium segment, will remain wholly independent brands.  Mark Conroy, along with Bob Binder, president of Oceania Cruises, will report to Frank Del Rio.  Apollo’s investment in NCL Corporation will remain a separate holding outside of PCH.

 

February 10, 2008

MSC Compass Logo To Appear On MSC Ships' Hulls

MSC Cruises has begun restyling the exteriors of its ships. MSC Armonia, based in Brazil this winter, and MSC Lirica, operating from Fort Lauderdale, are the first of the ships in the fleet to have the MSC logo painted on their sides. The display of the MSC compass logo on the hull side of each ship in the fleet will ensure instant recognition in the ports visited during the many and varied itineraries.
The compass logo was incorporated by MSC Cruises in 2004 and symbolizes the diversity of the horizons reached by the ships in the fleet. The MSC acronym in the center of the compass represents the guest at the center of the MSC Cruises world.

Fincantieri To Build Two Ships For Compagnie des Iles du Ponant
This month Fincantieri and the French owner Compagnie des Iles du Ponant (CMA CGM Group) signed a preliminary agreement to build two super luxury ships. The two ships will be similar in size to megayachts, a ship type Fincantieri has recently started developing and which is now achieving its first commercial successes.
The 10,500-ton ships, which will fly the French flag, will be approximately 140 meters long and 16 meters wide. Passengers will be accommodated in 134 oceanview cabins and suites of which 75 percent will have a private balcony. Delivery is due in the first six months of 2010.
The Compagnie des Iles du Ponant, founded in 1988, belongs to CMA-CGM Group, third biggest ship owning group in the world and the first in France in the container transport sector. Based in Marseille, the company has a fleet of three ships and serves the super luxury market.

Dame Helen Mirren To Christen P&O’s New ‘Ventura’
British icon and Oscar-winning actress Dame Helen Mirren is to name the largest superliner designed exclusively for the British trade—P&O’s Ventura. The spectacular evening naming ceremony, with Dame Helen as the ship's Godmother, will take place in Southampton on April 16, prior to Ventura's maiden cruise to the Mediterranean.
But in a break with tradition, instead of Dame Helen simply pressing a button to send a cradled Taittinger champagne bottle towards the ship, she will command a crack team of Royal Marine Commandos to assist her in naming Ventura in a dramatic presentation. Dame Helen Mirren said that “it is the first time I have ever named a ship, let alone one of the size of P&O Cruises Ventura and am really looking forward to being Godmother.”
Royal Marines display team commanding officer, Lt Colonel Steve Richards, "This is a rather unusual assignment for our lads, but well within their capabilities. They are very keen to assist Dame Helen with the launch - they will not let her down."
In keeping with Ventura's contemporary and innovative values, her naming ceremony will be a departure from tradition.
On board, 1,500 guests will be invited including Ventura’s consultant celebrity chef, Marco Pierre White, and children's favorite, Noddy. The occasion will benefit three children's charities supported by Dame Helen and P&O Cruises: Barnardos, Kid's Company and Naomi House.

Alistair Clark Named Captain Of P&O’s New ‘Ventura’
P&O Cruises has announced that Alistair Clark will be Captain of the newest ship Ventura. Clark joined P&O in 1974 as a deck cadet, serving on cargo ships and on board the original Arcadia - completing his cadetship in 1978 then promoted to third officer while on board Arcadia. He then acted as third officer on a range other ships, including the original Sea Princess on her maiden Australian season in 1979. Between 1981 and 1990, he worked his way up the ranks to the position of first officer, serving mainly in the Princess fleet on board Island Princess, Sun Princess, Pacific Princess and Royal Princess.  
In 1991 Captain Clark moved on to the Canberra, where he was promoted to chief officer the following year and to staff captain in 1995. He was staff captain on board Victoria and the former Arcadia including during her conversion in Belfast. He was also staff captain on board Aurora, including during the final period of building and her maiden voyage.  It was on board Aurora in July 2002 he was promoted to Captain. He then took charge of cruise ship, Victoria and was in command during her final voyage in 2002. He became Captain of Oceana in December 2002.

First “Cruise Guide Training” Course Held Onboard Costa Concordia
 The Costa Concordia, Costa Cruises’ flagship, has hosted the first edition of “Cruise Guide Training,” a new training course for cruise ship tourist guides organized by the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations, in conjunction with the training specialist Progress International. The course is aimed at offering specialized training for tourist guides working on shore excursions for cruise guests.
The course lasted nearly 30 hours, and included theory lessons taught by the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations and Progress International trainers, as well as direct hands-on experience of the main activities and services for shore excursions both on board the ship and at the Savona Palacrociere cruise terminal.

Regent Seven Seas Launches “Voyages To Explore Online” Magazine
Regent Seven Seas Cruises is introducing Voyages to Explore Online, an innovative electronic magazine for Regent guests and prospects. Each issue will feature enlightening articles, dynamic destination videos and slideshows, plus the latest special offers and cruise information. Published quarterly, the magazine will offer articles on featured destinations, details on shore excursions, pre- and post-cruise land programs, Circles of Interest SM and Concierge Choice options. Real-time links to Regent offers and pricing, a section of featured special offers, and a link allowing users to request printed brochures are also featured.
The debut issue features stories on Alaska’s totem poles and their cultural significance, and the artistic and architectural legacies of the Mediterranean. Also included is information on a new, six-night Circles of Interest culinary odyssey through Australia’s wine country, plus a profile of Jean-Michel Cousteau, whose Ocean Futures Society offers family programs aboard Regent ships that focus on environmental responsibility and preservation. You can view the first issue at www.VoyagestoExplore.com.

Lynn C. Torrent Named Senior VP of Sales & Guest Services at Carnival
Cruise industry veteran Lynn C. Torrent has been named senior vice president of sales and guest services at Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines effective March 3.  In this capacity, Torrent will have overall responsibility for Carnival’s various sales activities, as well as Carnival’s call centers in Florida and Colorado Springs, Colorado and embarkation teams in the line’s 20 different homeports. She will also be responsible for Carnival’s CARE Team, which provides assistance and support to guests and their families should medical incidents or other emergency situations arise during their vacation.  “Travel agents are the key component of our distribution system and we’re very happy to have someone of Lynn’s caliber leading this effort.  She is a highly talented and respected executive with wide-ranging knowledge and experience.  I have tremendous confidence in her ability to lead the industry’s top sales team,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO. 
A 13-year cruise industry veteran, Torrent most recently served as president and CEO – North America of Costa Cruises, a sister company to Carnival Cruise Lines, where she was responsible for the company’s operations in North and Central America.  Prior to that, she served for three years as vice president of marketing for Carnival’s parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc.  She began her career in the cruise industry in 1995 as executive vice president of sales, marketing and passenger services for Renaissance Cruises.  Early in her professional career, Torrent was a senior auditor with Arthur Anderson in New York and later served as chief financial officer with Safecard Services, where she worked for Gerry Cahill who was then Safecard’s chief operating officer. “I have thoroughly enjoyed the last six years with Carnival Corporation & plc, particularly the last three years at Costa, and I am happy to be staying within our Carnival family, says Torrent. “I’m very excited about this opportunity and look forward to working with what is, unquestionably, the best sales force in the travel industry." 

Prestige Cruise Holdings Acquires Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) has announced that the acquisition of the cruise line by New York-based Apollo Management LP (Apollo) from Minneapolis-based Carlson has been completed.  Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed. “We are pleased to have finalized the acquisition of Regent Seven Seas Cruises and look forward to fueling the growth and continued success of this world-class cruise line,” stated Steve Martinez, partner at Apollo.
Concurrent with the closing of the transaction, the board of Prestige Cruise Holdings, Inc. (PCH), an Apollo subsidiary and parent company of RSSC, announced that it has provided RSSC management the authority to enter formal discussions with shipyards for a newbuild, with a view to placing a firm order during the second half of 2008 for delivery in 2011.  While specific details need to be finalized, management’s initial concept for the new ship calls for a vessel of similar dimensions and guest capacity to the 700-guest all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner, but with larger standard suites, an enhanced spa, more dining venues and expanded dining options.
 “These are exciting times for us,” said Mark Conroy, president of RSSC.  “Having led our organization since the first year of its operation in 1992, it is personally gratifying to me to see not only how far we have come, but how much further we can go.  Adding a new ship to our fleet will reinforce our position as the world’s leading luxury cruise line and enable us to offer our guests and travel agent partners a wealth of new destinations and amenities,” he added.
As previously announced, RSSC and Oceania Cruises will be placed under the ownership of PCH.  RSSC in the luxury segment, and Oceania Cruises in the upper premium segment, will remain wholly independent brands. Mark Conroy, along with Bob Binder, president of Oceania Cruises, will report to Frank Del Rio.  Apollo’s investment in NCL Corporation will remain a separate holding outside of PCH.
Founded in 1990, Apollo is a leading private equity and capital markets investor with more than 17 years of experience investing across the capital structure of leveraged companies. The firm employs over 140 professionals and has offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Singapore, Frankfurt and Paris. The firm’s most recent private equity fund and its co-investment affiliate have capital commitments of approximately $11.6 billion. Investments in the leisure and hospitality industries have included Harrah’s Entertainment (pending), AMC Entertainment, Sirius Satellite Radio, Wyndham International, and Vail Resorts.
Prestige Cruise Holdings (PCH) is a subsidiary of Apollo Management L.P. and the parent corporation of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Formed in 2007 to manage select assets in Apollo Management’s cruise investment portfolio, PCH is led by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Frank J. Del Rio, the founder of Oceania Cruises.

World Wildlife Fund Partners With Natural Habitat Adventures For Unique Cruise
The world's first carbon-neutral Antarctic tour, that departed February 3, has invited a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) climate scientist along for the ride. In her on-board scientist role, Dr. Sybille Klenzendorf, director of the WWF Species Conservation Program, will report on the surrounding sights from a climate perspective for 47 fellow passengers on the 20-day Natural Habitat Adventures' wildlife ecotour of Antarctica, the Falklands and South Georgia that ends February 23. "WWF is partnering with Natural Habitat Adventures to inform travelers firsthand of the effects of climate change in Antarctica and the rest of the world," said Doctor Klenzendorf, who has been researching climate effects on various species including the polar bear. "We hope to inspire them to learn what role they can play in reversing this threat."
Travel on Natural Habitat Adventures' Antarctic experience is by the ice-strengthened Finnish research vessel Professor Multanovskiy, and includes shore landings on the Antarctic Peninsula. The region's wildlife on view includes numerous penguin species - most notably South Georgia king penguins by the millions - as well as a variety of dolphins, seals and whales. Natural Habitat Adventures pays to offset carbon dioxide emissions released as a result of the trip via top-rated carbon offsetter Sustainable Travel International/MyClimate.
Armchair travelers also can experience Doctor Klenzendorf's in-the-field updates during the trip via live email dispatches carried on the Natural Habitat Adventures website (http://www.nathab.com ).

Swan Hellenic Announces A Return To River Cruising In 2009
In 2009 Swan Hellenic returns to river cruising, offering a season of river cruises on the Danube and four further river cruises on the Rhone. The spring and summer/autumn river cruise program will operate ten-night itineraries on the Danube and seven-night itineraries on the Rhone. A unique 13 night Christmas cruise for 2009/10 cruise will also be available on the Danube, which will further extend the river program. “We have carefully reviewed the river cruise market in Europe and decided that our best partner will be A-ROSA, which already has an excellent river cruise program on the Danube and the Rhône,” commented Swan Hellenic Chairman, Lord Sterling. “Being well acquainted with A-ROSA from earlier years when they were part of the P&O Group, we are confident of delivering a memorable Swan Hellenic travel experience.  A-ROSA's excellent reputation of providing an ocean going quality of service on board their river boats complements Swan Hellenic's hallmark travel experience of traveling in comfort and style.
Swan Hellenic will continue to offer an inclusive fare package including a full program of excursions and all tips on board and ashore and, as on our ocean-going ship Minerva, a Swan Hellenic Cruise Director will accompany each cruise.  To complete the Swan Hellenic travel experience, a specially selected Guest Speaker(s) will travel on each cruise, their knowledge and insights illuminating your cruise through the heart of Europe; local speakers and musicians will further enhance your travel experience.

Star Cruises’ Deploys ‘Superstar Virgo’ To Hong Kong In April
Star Cruises is redeploying its 1,960 guest SuperStar Virgo to Hong Kong in April, in line with the cruise line’s commitment to providing interesting Far East cruise options for international markets such as the UK, and development in the Greater China market. The deployment of the SuperStar Virgo to Hong Kong also helps to boost Hong Kong’s market significance as an international cruise centre.
SuperStar Virgo will depart from Singapore on 28th March and be based from Hong Kong until 19th October 2008. On the repositioning cruise from Hong Kong, SuperStar Virgo will call at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Sanya in China on 30th March and 1st April respectively prior arrival in Hong Kong on 2nd April. Her inaugural Hong Kong cruise season will comprise of destination cruises to Xiamen and Sanya in China and Halong Bay in Vietnam. There will also be four special cruises to Keelung, Taiwan in April, June, July and September.

Royal Caribbean Reports Record Fourth Quarter 2007 Earnings
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. reported record net income for the fourth quarter 2007 of $70.8 million, or $0.33 per share, compared to net income of $46.6 million, or $0.22 per share, in 2006.  Revenues were better than expected, driven by stronger close-in bookings, while fuel costs were higher due to rising fuel prices.  Revenues for the fourth quarter 2007 increased to $1.5 billion from revenues of $1.2 billion in the fourth quarter 2006.  
Net income for the full year 2007 was $603.4 million, or $2.82 per share, compared to net income of $633.9 million, or $2.94 per share, for the full year 2006.  Revenues for the full year 2007 increased to $6.1 billion from revenues of $5.2 billion for the full year 2006.  “It is very gratifying to see such a strong performance, especially in light of the broader consumer and economic environment,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.  “We are particularly pleased with the solid yield performance of our brands, which produced such healthy earnings despite significantly higher fuel costs.”  Higher fuel prices increased operating costs by $45 million in 2007, which reduced earnings per share by $0.21.
 “Despite pressures on consumer spending, yields for the year were consistent with our original expectations, growing 0.3% on a comparable basis (i.e. excluding Pullmantur),”   Fain added. 
The company expects to have a 5.1% increase in capacity in 2008, driven primarily by a full year of Liberty of the Seas, the April delivery of Independence of the Seas, Pullmantur’s purchase of Pacific Star, and the November delivery of Celebrity Solstice.
The early indications from the ‘wave period’ are encouraging,” said Fain.  “We continue to see healthy booking volumes and improved pricing over the same time last year.   Based on this improving revenue performance and our focus on controlling costs, we expect 2008 to be a year of double-digit improvement in EPS.”
The company does not forecast fuel prices and its cost guidance for fuel is based on current “at-the-pump” prices including any hedge impacts. 

Nickelodeon Takes to the Seas on its First-Ever Cruise, Sailing August 2008
Nickelodeon, a unit of MTV Networks, a division of Viacom International, Inc., and Royal Caribbean International, will introduce the Nickelodeon Family Cruise with Royal Caribbean. The first-ever Nickelodeon cruise will set sail on August 10-17, 2008, departing out of Miami, Fla., on an exclusive, seven-day Nickelodeon family summer vacation.
Taking place on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, the largest ship in the cruise industry with a capacity of more than 4,000 passengers, the Nickelodeon Family Cruise with Royal Caribbean will match the family- friendly amenities of Freedom of the Seas with a packed schedule of Nickelodeon activities and entertainment. The cruise will visit four exotic Western Caribbean destinations including: Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and a special stop at Royal Caribbean's private beach destination, Labadee, which will be Nickelodeon-themed.
The "Nickelodeon Family Cruise by Royal Caribbean" will offer an experience complete with Nick-themed on-board activities such as live game shows featuring the trademark Nickelodeon slime; visits with kids' favorite Nick characters like Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants; appearances by the network's live-action stars; and much more. In addition, Freedom of the Seas offers a multitude of activities, including the FlowRider surf simulator, the H2O Zone water park, an ice skating rink, a nine-hole mini-golf course, 10-route rock-climbing wall, and full-size basketball court.
Vacation packages for the "Nickelodeon Family Cruise are now on sale at www.nickfamilycruise.com.

Crystal Embraces Experiential Travel with New Rugged Outdoor Tours
Bicycling in Barcelona, cliff climbing in Croatia, and a self-driven off-road Jeep adventure in Mykonos, are among the new active outdoor excursions joining Crystal Cruises’ extensive line-up of 2008 European shore tours.  From May through November the award-winning Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony will offer guests 28 unique voyages showcasing the best-loved cities of Europe and the Mediterranean, now with an expanded roster of Crystal Adventures shore excursions that allow guests to live the experience in a dynamic new way. “While rich history and culture have typically drawn vacationers to Europe, many of our guests with active lifestyles are seeking experiential tours that give them not only something interesting to see, but something exciting to do,” says John Stoll, Crystal’s director of land programs.  Our new outdoor Crystal Adventures offer more rugged encounters unique to each destination -- in some of Europe’s most spectacular settings.”