Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Aug. 22, 2006

THE CAPE MAY LIGHT and the Cape Cod light, the two coastal cruise vessels commissioned by the now-defunct American Classic Voyages, may have a new owner: Hornblower Marine Services, a New Albany, Indiana-based company that, according to its site, provides marine management and consulting. The company said it would purchase the two 224-passenger vessels, which have been property of the U.S. Maritime Administration since 2001; terms were not immediately disclosed.

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES cancelled the Celebration's Aug. 21 five-day Caribbean sailing from Jacksonville, Fla., in order to move the ship to the Grand Bahamas shipyard in Freeport, Bahamas, and repair its propulsion system; the vessel hit the sea bottom while attempting to dock in Nassau on Aug. 15. The Celebration's previous itinerary, a four-day cruise from Jacksonville, missed its scheduled call in Freeport on Aug. 18 due to the ship's reduced sailing speed, Carnival said. Carnival said the problem only affected the Celebration's sailing speed and that all other systems and services were functioning normally.

NCL CORP. said that fuel costs, plus rising interest rates and a weak dollar affected its $35 million second quarter loss. The company's revenue increased by 33.5% compared with second-quarter 2005, thanks to a 19.5% increase in capacity and 9.2% higher net yields, but fuel costs were up 55.5% and interest expenses increased 100%, to $33.9 million. Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL Corp. said in an earnings call with analysts that the Caribbean continues to be "very challenging" and that the slowdown of the housing market, high fuel costs and an overall weaker consumer confidence were dragging down NCL's "lower priced trades." Alaska and Europe remain strong, he said; Hawaii is doing well, he said, but NCL tripled its capacity there in 24 months, and it was being met, in some cases, with downward pricing trends.

THE PORT OF NEW ORLEANS will get a second Carnival Cruise Lines ship in August 2007 when the 2,758-passenger Carnival Triumph begins operating year-round, seven-day Western Caribbean cruises. The Triumph will join the Fantasy, which will begin sailing out of New Orleans on year-round four-, five- and seven-day cruises to the Western Caribbean in October. With both ships, Carnival said it expects to carry 320,000 passengers annually from New Orleans, making the port one of its fastest growing departure points. The Carnival Freedom, a 110,000-ton ship currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, will take the Triumph's place in Miami in November 2007 and will offer alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises. The 2,974-passenger ship will debut in Europe and will sail Mediterranean and Greek Isles voyages from March 14 to Oct. 16, 2007; a 14-day transatlantic crossing from Rome to Miami is scheduled Oct. 28, 2007.

OCEANIA CRUISES reported that it took 856 reservations on Aug. 15 that accounted for about $10.9 million in revenue for the line, both records for any single day in the company's history. The record sales coincided with the first day that Oceania's new Australia and New Zealand itineraries went on sale; the voyages begin in January 2008. Approximately 30% of its Australia and New Zealand inventory is sold already, with two voyages more than 50% sold, Oceania said, and close to 50% of its 2007 Europe inventory has been booked.

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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