Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Aug. 28, 2007

NCL CORP. reported better results for the second quarter of this year, reducing its second-quarter losses to $24.6 million compared with a loss of $35 million during the same period last year. NCL's revenue rose to $553.1 million, a 10% increase, due to a 13.6% increase in capacity days, NCL said. Yields dropped by 2.5%, the company said, mostly driven by continued weakness in ticket pricing in its Hawaii operations as well as lower onboard revenues. Net cruise costs decreased 6.5% during the quarter, which the company attributed to lower payroll and related costs in NCL's Hawaii operations, lower fuel costs and the timing of drydocks. The Caribbean trade stabilized during the quarter, NCL said, while Europe stayed strong.

CARIBBEAN PRICING IS IMPROVING in the second half of this year and into 2008, according to a pricing survey by equity investment firm AG Edwards. Leisure analyst Tim Conder suggested that the cruise lines were "in the midst of solid quarters," and he noted that they were "putting ships in the right places." Compared with 2006, Alaska cruise pricing was weak this year, he wrote, but the region was showing positive trends again. Europe continued to be the strongest geographic market, with pricing up over 2006, as it has been in most pricing surveys this year.

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES will offer an expanded list of short cruise options from Miami beginning in fall 2008 and will operate what will be the largest ship in the year-round short cruise market, the 2,642-passenger Carnival Destiny. The Destiny, which Carnival said was the industry's only 100,000-plus-ton cruise ship in the short cruise market, will sail four- and five day itineraries. The Carnival Imagination, the first ship to be fully remodeled under the line's $250 million "Evolutions of Fun" enhancement program, also will run short cruises from Miami, offering three and four-day cruises beginning Sept. 22, 2008.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES' three U.S. brands launched the CruiseMatch World Premiere Tour this month to give agents a sneak preview of the tools, which will launch in September on RCCL's online booking site, Executives from Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises boarded a bus on Aug. 20 to visit 11 cities and unveil the new features to agents. Lisa Bauer, senior vice president of sales for Royal Caribbean, said CruiseMatch "will give travel agents the ability to service their clients more quickly and efficiently when booking cruises." She said some of the new capabilities included price and itinerary comparison, up-sell opportunities, e-quote generation and individual cruisetour reservations.

SUITE PASSENGERS on Cunard Line's next ship, the Queen Victoria, will be able to take a private elevator to the ship's Grill-level dining rooms, which will be in a more secluded location than on other Cunard ships, the line said. When the Queen Victoria enters service in December, the 132-seat Princess Grill and 142-seat Queens Grill restaurants will be located on Deck 11. Like the Queen Mary 2, passengers in the upper-level cabin categories that receive Grill privileges will have the use of the concierge-staffed Grills Lounge and the Grills Courtyard for outdoor dining and afternoon tea, both located on Deck 11, and the Grills Upper Terrace, which will be located on Deck 12.

Cruise E-Letter Editor: Johanna Jainchill

Phone: (201) 902-2065

[email protected]

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


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