AMERICA will refund half of the service charge paid by
passengers who have sailed on the line's first U.S.-flagged ship,
the Pride of Aloha, and said the refund was "in recognition of the
shortcomings of the Pride of Aloha's past cruises." The line also
will issue cruise credits worth 20% of the cruise portion of the
Pride of America ticket, good for cruises booked and sailed through
2005. And, it said, past Pride of Aloha passengers who wish to sail
on an NCL Hawaii cruise next year can buy cruises on the Pride of
America or the Pride of Aloha at 2003 rates. Travel agents will
receive a $50 rebooking fee.
SAID in a statement that it was taking "aggressive actions
to address specific issues" on the Pride of Aloha. "The company has
faced a number of start-up challenges that have affected some of
the Pride of Aloha's guests' experience, and the company would like
to apologize for that," NCL said.
MEANWHILE, will be the first North American cruise company
to offer cell phone service to its cruise passengers and plans to
roll it out over the next year starting on the Norwegian Sun.
Passengers would be able to use their own cell phones and numbers
-- the technology works with most U.S. mobile phones -- and would
be billed by their own carrier at roaming rates, "just as if they
were roaming on land instead of at sea." NCL Executive Vice
President Andy Stuart said having access to cell phones is just
COLUMBIA QUEEN is nearly ready to roll under its new
cruise line, American Rivers Cruise Line. Michael Lomax, American
Rivers' president, said the river ship was transferred to him Aug.
16 and that he's relocated the ship to a shipyard for some repairs
and upgrades before setting sail from Portland, Ore., on its first
cruise April 2. The ship will offer seven-day cruises along the
Columbia and Snake rivers, coupled with one-night, pre-cruise stays
in Portland, Lomax said.
AMERICA LINE ratcheted up the amenities available with
group bookings with an eye toward increasing group business in
2005. The revised 2005 Group Amenity Program (GAP) menu includes
options for dinners at the Pinnacle Grill, half-hour massages,
monogrammed bathrobes, wine packages and rental of beach equipment
at Half Moon Cay. Agents who book groups on select cruises by Aug.
31 also earn a GAP marketing co-op bonus of up to 3%.