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Royal Caribbean's Freed Hints at Next Oasis Neighborhoods
The much-anticipated debut of Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas isn't until December 2009 but the cruise line is slowly divulging information on the seven distinct neighborhoods that will be situated on th 5,400-passenger ship.
Up to now, Royal Caribbean has commented on three neighborhoods: Central Park, the Boardwalk and the Royal Promenade. During a phone call between Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean's senior vice president of sales and trade support & services, and travel agent partners, Freed alluded to the themes of the next four neighborhoods. They will revolve around: entertainment, youth passengers, sports (yes, a FlowRider will be on board) and spa/fitness.
Oasis of the Seas also has a dedicated trade website where agents can learn more about the ship and download banners.
Expedia CruiseShipCenters Sets New One-Day Sales Record
Expedia CruiseShipCenters reports a milestone by booking a record $13.5 million in cruises in a single day. The annual Princess Cruises One-Day-Sale, on June 14, surpassed last year's record-breaking sale by $4.4 million, a 40 percent increase.
"The phenomenal growth at Expedia CruiseShipCenters is a clear indication that the cruising industry continues to grow," said Michael Drever, president and CEO of Expedia CruiseShipCenters. "With 80 new ships scheduled in the next 10 years, and the increase in customer satisfaction, the forecast of the industry is robust. The demand is at its highest in our 20-year history. With over 1,900 trained Cruise Consultants and access to exclusive value-priced products, our customers have the benefit of receiving outstanding customer service.”
Expedia CruiseShipCenters launched the One-Day-Sale event in 2005 as a unique promotion to showcase that the world of cruising extends far beyond the Caribbean to nearly every continent. They also highlight the benefit of booking early with a fully refundable deposit of only $100 dollars. This year's sale included worldwide departures up to Spring 2010. Expedia CruiseShipCenters secures group inventory in advance, allowing agents across the country to take advantage of multiple benefits such as shipboard credits, group discounts and reduced deposit.
"An achievement like this takes an incredible amount of team effort. From the individual Cruise Consultants who took advantage of our Princess Academy training to the national marketing team who worked with us to build and promote this sale,” said Jan Swartz, senior vice president and customer service for Princess Cruises and Cunard. "It is a real statement of how well Expedia CruiseShipCenters understands its customers.”
Princess Reduces Deposit Percentage on 2009/10 Cruises
Princess Cruises, citing tougher economical times, has lowered the deposit requirements from 30 percent to 20 percent on 2009 voyages and beyond. For Princess' world cruises in 2009 and 2010, the initial deposit will remain at 10 percent, while the second deposit, due December 1, 2008 for the 2009 Dawn Princess world cruise and June 1, 2009 for the 2010 Pacific Princess world cruise, will be 20 percent. Visit www.princess.com.
Delivery Ceremonies for Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Splendor Ship Begin
Carnival Cruise Lines today officially took delivery of its newest "Fun Ship" and largest vessel ever constructed, the new 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor. Ceremonies for the 3,006-passenger SuperLiner took place at the Fincantieri shipyard in Sestri, Italy.
Splendor offers a host of innovative facilities and features, highlighted by a luxurious health and fitness facility– the two-level, 21,000-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa. Other features include a two-deck-high children’s play area along with a water park, and a mid-ship pool covered by a magradome and featuring Carnival’s Seaside Theatre, a 270-square-foot LED screen displaying movies, concerts and other programming.
The ship debuts July 2 with an inaugural eight-day Western Europe voyage from Genoa to Dover, near London, where it will be officially named and presided over by its godmother, British celebrity Myleene Klass. Following the naming, Carnival Splendor will sail on a special three-day voyage to Amsterdam July 10-13, then launch the line’s first-ever Northern Europe cruise program featuring ports from Denmark, Germany, Russia, Finland, Estonia and The Netherlands.
The ship will operate a winter schedule of seven-day Caribbean voyages from Fort Lauderdale followed by a series of 14- to 18-day South American voyages – Carnival’s first. These voyages will position Carnival Splendor for year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera voyages from Long Beach, CA, beginning March 29, 2009, continuing the line’s West Coast expansion.
Carnival is currently accepting reservations for all of the Carnival Splendor’s European, Caribbean, South American and Mexican Riviera cruises.
Martinique Cruise Numbers Increase
According to the latest statistics released by the Martinique Promotion Bureau/CMT USA Tuesday, cruise arrivals are up 10.5 percent from January to April from last year. Martinique saw a total of 57,718 cruise passengers during that time frame.
“In cruising today, the more exotic the destination, the better; good news for emerging islands like Martinique,” said Michelle Fee, CEO of Cruise Planners, in a written statement. “Our clients are actively seeking out new and exciting experiences off the beaten path. Martinique is simply ideal for the cruise traveler with a ‘been there, done that’ attitude about the Caribbean.”
More Than 2000 Watch Eurodam Christening
I hope you all had a chance to sneak a peak at the streaming video of the Eurodam christening. Being there in person, I can tell you, a ship christening never tires.
This one was as good as it was billed. As Stein Kruse, president and CEO, of Holland America Line commented: "The weather gods must have been happy." Northern Europe, I don't suspect, ever saw this much sun. The weather for the ceremony was picture perfect--if a tad warm. The christening was held outside, as grandstands hugged the stage with the ship in the background. The event was so popular that you could see people in office buildings across the way with nose to glass.
The London Quartet was a fun start. We thought they were serious singers, decked in tails, and they were seriously great, but added comedy to their routine. Their production of The Beatles' "Penny Lane" was particularly good.
On hand for the event, along with Kruse, were Micky Arison, president and CEO of Carnival Corp., and his wife, Madeleine. They were soon joined by Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, who performed the christening.
Once on stage, she delivered her lines, "God bless her and all who sail within her," never once wavering from formality. You know, at one of these events I'd love to see the godmother speak extemporaneously. Just once. Is that too much to ask?
Luckily, this time the champagne bottle that was swung toward the ship's bow broke. I say luckily as some of you may recall when the Duchess Camilla named Cunard's Queen Victoria, the champagne bottle hit the hull with a large thud but never splintered.
This summer, Eurodam will sail Northern Europe itineraries, followed by fall spent sailing in Canada/New England. In the winter, Eurodam will operate Caribbean sailings.
For those seeking an inside look at Eurodam, Holland America has posted its own blog at www.eurodamnews.com.
Norwegian Sky to Begin Bahamas Operations
Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Sky, which previously sailed under the name Pride of Aloha in Hawaii, will begin three and four-day Bahamas cruises from Miami Monday, July 14. The ship recently underwent a two-month wet dock where it was outfitted with a casino and NCL's Freestyle 2.0 enhancements. NCL last had a ship operating short three- and four-day Bahamas itineraries from Miami in 2003.
The ship departs Mondays from Miami for the four-day cruise, stopping in Grand Bahama Island, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, NCL's own private island. Then, on Friday's, the ship will operate the three-day cruise, departing Miami at 5 p.m. with all-day stops in Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, before returning to Miami early Monday morning. The itinerary is ideal for families or couples who can't miss work or school.
Free Cruises to Hawaii for Specialists
American Safari Cruises is offering agents the chance to win two free cruises for two in Hawaii on the line's new flagship yacht, the 36-guest Safari Explorer. The yacht's seven-night inter-island cruises between the Big Island and Maui begin December 19 and run through early May 2009.
The drawing for the cruises, which does not include airfare, is open to accredited Hawaii destination specialists who participate in one of two 90-minute online presentations on the new Hawaii product. Seminars are scheduled for July 17 at 2 p.m. EST, and July 22 at 4 p.m. EST. Participants will be entered in to the drawing, which will take place on July 23.
Visit www.amsafari.com to register for the seminars.
Save Up To $3,500 on Greenland Cruise
Hurtigruten, which specializes in expedition cruises, is offering savings of up $3,500 on its 16-day Greenland expedition cruise on the 318-berth MS Fram, with port calls in Copenhagen and Reykjavik, departing September 9, 2008. Bookings must be made by July 31.
The special fares, normally $7,099 to $18,499 per person, are 18 percent to 20 percent lower— $5,699 to $8,699 for cabins and $9,199 to $14,999 for suites—during the promotion. A $14 per person fuel surcharge is additional. Air is offered from dozens of U.S. gateways starting at $949. Visit www.hurtigruten.com.