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Newsletter: Cruise, 5/5/07

"New Wave" Distinguishes NCL F3 Staterooms


Norwegian Cruise Line unveiled the first of what is certain to become a spate of reveals of its new 4,200-passenger F3 ships, scheduled to enter service beginning in 2010.

NCL started with the staterooms at the end of April, announcing their design from Aker Yards in France where the ships are being constructed. NCL is calling the design for its next generation of freestyle ship staterooms, "New Wave," which, it says, represents "a giant leap forward in cruise ship accommodations."

"NCL has always blazed a trail of innovation," said Colin Veitch, NCL's president and CEO. "We have thrown away the rule book...Gone are the regimented typical designs and in place are sleek staterooms that are totally outside the box."

The staterooms most glaring design feature will be curved walls and lines, which NCL says creates a modern feel, and a color palette that includes earth tones. The bathrooms will be unique with separate shower stalls, separate water closets and modern sinks. In addition, all F3 ships' outside rooms will feature private balconies.

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Ambassadors Promotes Moore to Windstar President, Plans to Sell Off Majestic America


Ambassadors International, the Newport, CA-based operator of Majestic America Line and Windstar Cruises, is looking to build up the latter brand on one hand, and bid adieu to the former. 

The group promoted Diane Moore to president of Windstar Cruises effective April 29. Moore most recently served as executive vice president of marketing, sales, reservations, guest services and customer relations for Windstar. She joined Windstar, which operates three motorized sailing ships, in 2005 when the unit was acquired by Ambassadors from Carnival Corp. Joe Ueberroth, chairman of Ambassadors Cruise Group said the future of Windstar "could not be in better hands."

Meanwhile, Ambassadors has announced that it plans to sell Majestic America Line, which operates riverboats in North America. Ambassadors said it will elaborate further on the decision to sell the component during a May 6 conference call; however, Ueberroth did offer some comment. "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," he said. "Several credible parties have expressed a sincere interest in acquiring some and/or all the assets of Majestic America Line. In addition, our decision to exit Majestic America Line enables us to focus our efforts and investments on the successes of Windstar Cruises."

More Cruise Lines Raise, Add Fuel Surcharges

Constantly rising oil prices continue to affect the cruise industry, influencing several lines to raise the per person fuel surcharge for upcoming trips. After Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and NCL Corp. hiked their rates in April, several other cruise lines are following the trend.

Oceania Cruises will raise its fuel surcharge to $10 per person per day for all new reservations as of May 1. Oceania says the decision is in response to the "continually escalating price of fuel." The fuel surcharge, however, only applies to the first two passengers in the stateroom, not to third or fourth guests.

Even Mickey Mouse isn't immune to the affects of rising fuel prices. Disney Cruise Line announced that it is implementing a fuel surcharge of $8 per person per day for the first two passengers in a stateroom, and $3 per person per day for any additional passengers in the stateroom. The supplement will be effective for new bookings made on or after May 28, 2008. In addition, the fuel surcharge will be capped at $112 each for first and second stateroom passengers and $42 for additional passengers. Disney Cruise Line advises travel agents to alert their clients to the now new additional fee before they book.

Meanwhile, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is upping its fuel supplement to $6.30 per person per night for the first two passengers in a stateroom and $2.70 per person per night for third and fourth stateroom occupants. The supplement's cap will be approximately $126 per passenger.

Louis Group Purchases NCL Ships


Star Cruises, the 50 percent owner of Norwegian Cruise Line, has sold two ships, Norwegian Dream and Norwegian Majesty, to Cyprus, Greece-based Louis Group for a sum of $380 million. 

According to the terms of the agreement, Louis will charter the ships back to NCL so it can complete its scheduled itineraries for Norwegian Dream through November 2008 and December 2009 for Norwegian Majesty.

Norwegian Dream currently sails from Boston on Bermuda itineraries, while Norwegian Majesty sails to the Caribbean from Philadelphia and Charleston, SC.  

"This strategically important agreement implements the previously announced company policy for upgrading its fleet by adding new generation cruise vessels of higher capacity which fit the company’s profile of services," Louis said in a release.

Carnival Rolls Out New Group Tool


Carnival Cruise Lines is enhancing its travel agent web portal with a new electronic tool aimed at easing the management of group bookings.

Carnival's new group e-tool allows agents to perform functions quickly and efficiently online in lieu of using a phone.  These include: selecting and modifying stateroom assignments, specifying type of room, entering and modifying passenger information, submitting cruise payment, selecting and modifying pre- and post-land packages and assigning pre-paid gratuities.

The new e-function is available through  beginning September 1, 2008 and agent tutorials are also available to understand the new functionality.

Celebrity Galaxy To Join TUI Fleet


Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Galaxy will be the first ship of TUI Cruises, the new brand designed for German-speaking clientele that was established through a joint venture between Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and TUI AG

Celebrity Galaxy will complete its scheduled sailings through its March 2, 2009, itinerary, then join TUI Cruises in May under a new name and sail the summer in the Baltic, Caribbean in the winter.

The 1,870-passenger Celebrity Galaxy joined Celebrity Cruises' fleet in December 1996, and this month was fitted with $4-million worth of renovations including new carpeting, upholstery and lighting.

Deals: Scenic Tours Offers Early Discounts on 2009 Bookings

Scenic Tours, which specializes in European river cruises, is offering early booking incentives on its 2009 river cruises when booked before September 30, 2008. The line is offering two different deals: the first covers a 15-day Rhine and Danube cruise with Fly Free savings of up to $1600; the second offers early birds up to $750 in savings for luxury rooms on all 2009 itineraries. Scenic Tours offers a mix of itineraries from 11 to 24 days in length. Visit

Deals: Carnival Honors Military Personnel With Special Promotions

Carnival Cruise Lines, in honor of Memorial Day, is offering discounted rates to retired and active military personnel on up to three booked staterooms.

The "Carnival Salutes Our Troops" promotion is available on a variety of three- to 12-day sailings worldwide through December 31, 2009. Reservations must be made between May 1 and May 31, 2008.

The following special rates are available for military personnel and their friends and families: $219 per person for three-day Bahamas and Baja Mexico cruises; $229 per person for four-day cruises and $279 per person for five-day cruises to the Bahamas, Caribbean and Mexico; $479 per person for seven-day cruises to the Caribbean and Alaska; and $829 per person for 12-day sailings to Hawaii and Europe.


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