Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: August 30, 2005

HURRICANE KATRINA prompted Carnival Cruise Lines to reposition several cruise ships before the storm slammed into the Gulf Coast near New Orleans and Gulfport, Miss., Monday. The Carnival Conquest, which sails from New Orleans on Sundays, was redirected on Aug. 28 to Galveston, Texas, and remained there overnight in order to facilitate transportation for passengers still onboard. The ship is undergoing scheduled maintenance this week and did not embark new passengers.

CARNIVAL said it anticipated that the Holiday will arrive in Mobile, Ala., two days late, on Aug. 31; the cruise that was to depart on Aug. 29 will be changed to a three-day cruise-to-nowhere. The line added that plans could change based on the direction and severity of Katrina. Meanwhile, passengers on the Carnival Miracle and the Inspiration caught their cruises at Fort Lauderdale on Aug. 28 and Aug. 29, respectively, instead of in Tampa. Carnival provided complimentary bus transportation between Tampa and Fort Lauderdale.

HOLLAND AMERICA is upping the passenger capacity on its annual world cruise in 2007 by putting the 1,380-passenger Amsterdam on the route and reassigning the 793-passenger Prinsendam to a 66-day circumnavigation of South America and a subsequent 56-day cruise to Europe and North Africa. The Amsterdam, which did the world cruise until the Prinsendam took over in 2004, will depart Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 15, 2007. The Prinsendam departs Fort Lauderdale Jan. 5, 2007, and heads south to South America and Antarctica. The Med voyage kicks off from Fort Lauderdale on March 12, 2007; passengers can opt to combine the two cruises for a 122-day journey.

IT MUST BE FALL: The kids are heading back to school, the temperatures dip a few degrees and cruise lines are starting to advertise a new slate of product seminars. Princess Cruises' just-announced fall seminar series kicks off Sept. 16 and runs through Oct. 27 and includes eight events to be held aboard Princess ships in port cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and Newport, R.I. Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, meanwhile, are promoting their joint Royal Celebrity Alaska Cruisetours by bringing one of their Alaska-based tour buses to drive around the Lower 48 and act as a mobile classroom.

STAR CRUISES turned a $6.2 million profit during the quarter that ended June 30. Revenue for the quarter was $439 million, up 16% compared with second-quarter 2004. The company recorded a 5.3% increase in net yields, which it attributed to an increase in ticket prices and onboard spending, and an 8.3% increase in capacity. Negative impacts included a $2.7 million impairment loss on a recently concluded charter and sale of a catamaran, higher fuel prices (average fuel prices increased 41%) and the higher cost structure of Hawaii-based NCL America.

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