Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Aug. 7, 2007

FORT LAUDERDALE may become the homeport for Royal Caribbean International's two $1.2 billion, 5,400-passenger Genesis-class ships when they debut in 2009 and 2010. Port Everglades would have to undergo a $37 million expansion of Terminal 18 in order to accommodate the megaships and would ask Royal Caribbean to foot that cost, port spokeswoman Ellen Kennedy said. The port predicted that the ships' year-round presence at the port would create 3,800 jobs, producing total income of $172 million. Terminal 18 is currently being renovated to accommodate Royal Caribbean's 3,114-passenger Navigator of the Seas.

FRED OLSEN CRUISE LINE's ship the Black Watch left Dover, England, last week on a 10-day voyage to Morocco and Iberia, its first sailing since two passengers from the vessel tested positive for Legionnaires' disease on July 30, during a Baltic cruise. British health officials cleared the vessel to depart following the health scare, and the line said that an investigation was underway to determine where the infection may have been contracted. The ship had visited five ports in northern Europe before arriving in Stockholm, where the passengers were diagnosed.

BLAME THE ECONOMY, not the Caribbean, for softer demand in the region over the past year, said Vicki Freed, Carnival Cruise Lines' senior vice president of sales and marketing. In a statement from Carnival, which said the line would carry a record 2.9 million passengers in the Caribbean region this year, Freed said that the slowdown was "not a reflection of the region's popularity or desirability" but "economic factors that have affected consumers' discretionary purchasing." Freed said that Caribbean bookings were up in the second half of 2007 and in early 2008. "Consumers are unquestionably responding well to the strong value appeal inherent in a cruise," she said.

DELTA QUEEN will sail for the last time as an overnight passenger vessel next year, operator Majestic America Line said, after Congress denied the Delta Queen a seventh exemption from a 1966 law banning passenger vessels with wooden superstructures. In 2008, the Delta Queen is scheduled to run 24 departures through November while celebrating a series of special commemorative events.

OVERNIGHTS IN PORT AND LONGER ITINERARIES spurred record demand for Oceania Cruises' winter 2008-2009 sailings, the line said. Oceania said it set a record for reservations, taking more than 400 new bookings in the first few hours of Aug. 1 after opening the books on the new cruises at 8:00 a.m. By the end of the day, Oceania said it had bested its previous record by almost 30%; some sailings were 50% sold. The new itineraries feature sailings to Asia, Australia, the Caribbean and South America, with overnight stops in places such as Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong and Sydney.

Cruise E-Letter Editor: Johanna Jainchill

Phone: (201) 902-2065

[email protected]

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