This Week in Cruise: Cruise Ship Itineraries and Trade Intel

In a major executive move, Dondra Ritzenthaler, who retired as a senior executive of Celebrity Cruises earlier this year, was named as the new CEO of Azamara, effective May 2024. Until she takes the line’s helm (after her non-compete clause expires with Royal Caribbean Group), Dan Hanrahan, the chair of Azamara, will provide day-to-day leadership and Azamara team oversight. Carol Cabezas, who had served as Azamara's president, has left the line. 

On the finance side, Alain Ferzli, previously an acting chief financial officer of Virgin Voyages, joined Azamara as its new CFO. Separately, Peter Hunt, formerly with Virgin America, will join Virgin Voyages as its new CFO in December.

At the end of the Earth, Atlas Ocean Voyages christened its World Voyager in AntarcticaOceania Cruises, additionally, released new 2024 itineraries, while Silversea Cruises unveiled enhancements to its Otium Wellness program aboard Silver Nova.  

New Ships

Celebrity Cruises announced that its fifth Edge-class ship, debuting in 2025, will be called Celebrity XcelPrincess Cruises, separately, unveiled new entertainment aboard the Sun Princess, debuting in early 2024. Also, Norwegian Cruise Line unveiled details about Norwegian Aqua. That’s the first of the expanded Prima-Plus-class debuting in 2025. The line has also opened bookings for the ship’s inaugural seven-day Caribbean voyages from Port Canaveral, FL.

Norwegian Aqua_Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Aqua (Norwegian Cruise Line)

Carnival Cruise Line opened up sales for additional 2025-2026 West Coast sailings. In other Carnival news, the line canceled the November 11, 18, 26 and December 2, 2023, cruises on Carnival Panorama. That's due to a technical engine problem affecting the ship's maximum speed, and the vessel is now in drydock for repairs. Full refunds are being provided to guests on those canceled sailings. Plus, on some departure dates, a cruise credit is being offered. In addition, Carnival Firenze will arrive in the Carnival fleet a bit earlier than expected from sister brand, Costa Cruises. One new departure has been added for April 25, 2024.

Trade Developments  

An Allianz Partners USA survey of 9,000 travel advisors in October showed that cruise itineraries are driving the majority of advisor bookings. More than one quarter of advisors say that cruises comprise more than 75 percent of their bookings.

During the past week, 600 professional travel advisors from Dream Vacations and CruiseOne sailed aboard Carnival Celebration during the franchise organization's 2024 national conference. During a week-long cruise, they attended general sessions, participated in training workshops, met with cruise line representatives and networked with other advisors. Earlier last week, Travel Agent published an update about what's new on the training and marketing side. Look for another update this week. 

At that conference, Dream Vacations franchise owners Anne Harpold and Sharon Grant of GetAway Vaca in Grand Rapids, MI, won the Bobbye Haupt Franchise of the Year Award.

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