Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: August 16, 2005

CRYSTAL CRUISES and Caesars Palace are ending the partnership that put Caesars Palace-branded casinos on Crystals ships. Since gaming company Harrahs Entertainment completed its merger with Caesars earlier this summer, Harrahs, as a Crystal spokeswoman put it, decided to use its resources on other opportunities. Crystal said it is looking at alternative partnerships with other land-based casinos and said it would continue to abide by Nevada gaming laws and continue to serve complimentary drinks in the casinos.

 

THE BREAKUP, the Crystal spokeswoman said, is a friendly one, and though the two companies mutually agreed to discontinue the relationship once Caesars Palaces management contract expires at the end of 2005, Caesars has agreed to be flexible about when they pull the Caesars Palace at Sea casinos off of Crystal ships. The line said it expects to have another gaming operation in place in the first half of 2006.

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE rolled out a group program called Group Early Advantage, which is supposed to help agents generate more group business during the first half of 2006. The line is offering group savings on bookings deposited by Oct. 31 on a number of cruises through May 2006 as well as a 1:12 tour conductor credit and one- and two-category upgrades.

HALS VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES, Tracey Kelly, told Travel Weekly: Consumers are buying further and further into the future. In 2005, consumers felt the impact of waiting too long to make their choice for their cruise vacation: prime sailing dates sold out or their first-choice of staterooms were already booked. Looking into 2006, we wanted to give the agents a tool to close more sales further out. Agents are blocking groups and putting their promotions into play earlier than ever before, and the result is bookings for 2006 are coming in fast.

 

NEW FACES:

* Look for a new senior vice president of sales and marketing for Norwegian Cruise Line. The line hired Proctor & Gamble executive Scott Rogers in the role. NCLs current vice presidents of sales and of marketing, Mitch Schlessinger and Karen Sinclair, report to Rogers. Andy Stuart is continuing as NCLs executive vice president of sales and marketing.

* Meanwhile, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises promoted Randall Soy to vice president-channel sales. Joyce Simon and David Levene were promoted to vice presidents of sales.

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