Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Aug. 15, 2006

THE U.S. COAST GUARD did not raise the security level for the maritime sector or change the screening process for passengers at seaports, the International Council of Cruise Lines reported, after an alleged plot to blow up airplanes was foiled last week in the U.K., causing major worldwide travel disruptions. Several cruise lines pushed back debarkation times after Thursday's event, but none reported any major delays or any cancellations of itineraries. Most major cruise lines, the ICCL, and the Cruise Lines International Association distributed information to travel agents and cruise passengers, either via their Web sites or by sending advisories, on the new aviation regulations for carry-on items.

CELEBRITY CRUISES canceled the Sept. 13 Alaska sailing on the Infinity: Problems with one of the ship's propulsion pods prompted the line to send the Infinity into dry-dock for repairs at a facility in Victoria, British Columbia. It is expected to return to service for its Sept. 24 Panama Canal transit from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale. Passengers booked on the Sept. 13 cruise will receive a full refund and a future cruise credit; commission is protected and retailers will receive a $50 per-cabin rebooking bonus. Passengers on the next sailing will depart San Francisco a day later than scheduled and miss the scheduled call in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; passengers on this cruise are entitled to a $500 per-cabin onboard credit, a $200 future cruise credit and overnight accommodations in San Francisco on Sept. 23. Celebrity established a phone desk at (800) 852-8175 to assist guests and agents.

CELEBRITY'S POD PROBLEMS are an ongoing issue for the cruise line's ships that are fitted with Mermaid pods. The Infinity has been taken out of service for at least one cruise each year since its 2000 debut to deal with propulsion issues, and an Alaska sailing was cancelled in May due to propulsion problems on Celebrity's Summit. Celebrity's parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises had sued pod producers Rolls-Royce and Alstom Power Conversion for $300 million in 2003. RCCL settled with Alstom in January, releasing them from the suit after being paid $38 million; its case against Rolls-Royce is still pending. This latest cancellation will negatively impact shares by about five cents, RCCL said.

WINDSTAR CRUISES will upgrade and refurbish its entire fleet by 2008. The company has not released details of the upgrade, but it said that renovations would be extensive. The Wind Surf will go into dry-dock for about five weeks this fall, from Nov. 12 to Dec. 16. The Wind Spirit will go into dry-dock sometime in spring 2007, and the Wind Star will go in the fall of 2007.

AKER YARDS' second-quarter earnings increased 59% to $62.3 million, but it missed margin expectations due to what it called a slow pace with the integration of its recently acquired businesses. The Scandinavian shipbuilder acquired Alstom Marine's two shipyards in France during the second quarter, increasing its order intake by 52% to a backlog of 126 vessels. The Chantiers de l'Atlantique yard in Saint-Nazaire, France, has four MSC Cruises ships on order through 2009; Aker's yard in Turku, Finland, floated out Royal Caribbean International's Liberty of the Seas Aug. 4.

Cruise E-Letter Editor:

Johanna Jainchill

Phone: (201) 902-7940

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].

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