Travel Weekly's Cruise E-Letter: Dec. 18, 2007

CARNIVAL CORP. ordered two cruise ships for Aida, its German brand. Germany's Meyer Werft shipyard will build the 2,174-passenger vessels, which are scheduled to enter service in April 2011 and May 2012, for an all-in cost of $558 million and $565 million, respectively. The order came days after TUI and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced their intent to launch a cruise line to serve the German-speaking market.

COSTA CRUISES will double its presence in Asia in 2009 with the addition of a second ship, the 1,680-passenger Costa Classica. The Classica will be deployed in Asia from March 27 to Nov. 7, 2009, and will sail from Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tianjin. Like Costa's other Asia-based ship, the Costa Allegra, the new tonnage will be aimed at Chinese and international clientele. After a rocky start in the region, Costa last week cited a "positive trend of its cruises in Asia" and said that Chinese clientele "are responding to Costa's product in ever-increasing numbers."

THE GENESIS CLASS of ships reached a milestone on Dec. 13 when Aker Yards laid the ship's keel in a ceremony in Turku, Finland. Royal Caribbean International executives were on hand for the event for the first of the line's 5,400-passenger ships, due to enter service in fall 2009. Back in Florida, architectural firm Bermello Ajamil & Partners was selected to design the $37.4 million expansion of Terminal 18 in Fort Lauderdale, where the Genesis-class ships will homeport.

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES will again increase its profile in Europe in 2009 and will deploy two of its newest 110,000-ton ships, the Carnival Liberty and the Carnival Freedom, in the region. The Liberty will offer 12-day Northern Europe and Mediterranean cruises, and the Freedom will run 12-day sailings in the Mediterranean. Carnival said that after getting strong advance bookings for its first-ever Northern Europe program on the Carnival Splendor, the company will now have the Carnival Liberty operate the program from England in 2009, with twice the number of voyages.

THE EURODAM will take its maiden voyage to Northern Europe, visiting Norway, Scotland and England when it enters service in summer 2008. Holland America Line's next ship will leave Copenhagen, Denmark, on July 5 and visit Norway's fjords and Scotland's Highlands on a 10-day cruise. The 2,104-passenger Eurodam, which is currently under construction at Fincantieri's shipyard in Marghera, Italy, will be the first vessel in HAL's Signature class. HAL is also offering a couple of three-day, introductory cruises during the Eurodam's inaugural season: one departing July 2 from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and the other departing Aug. 29 from New York.

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