Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Dec. 4, 2007

A NEW RIVER CRUISE LINE was launched by former Silversea CEO Albert Peter, along with Ulrich Baur, co-founder of Viking River Cruises. Jewel River Cruise Line will debut in 2008 with six ships and three independent brands. Jewel River Cruises will target the luxury market, Emerald River Journeys the premium market and Princess River Journeys the contemporary market. Five ships in the premium and contemporary brands are chartered out to European tour operator charters for 2008 and will operate in Central Europe, while the one luxury ship, the Jewel Imperial Blue, will enter service in late spring after a $3.5 million drydock in Rotterdam. The Jewel Imperial Blue will become the only all-suite ship in the river cruise industry, accommodating 90 passengers in 45 suites. Also, there are two all-suite new-builds on order for the luxury brand, slated to enter service in 2009 and 2010. The luxury brand will be exclusively marketed in the U.S., while the contemporary and premium brands will be marketed in Europe.

NCL CORP. appointed Kevin Sheehan executive vice president and CFO and Gregory Hunt executive vice president of strategic and commercial development. Sheehan spent nine years with Cendant, including five years as president and CFO of Avis and two years as Cendant CFO. He most recently spent two-and-a-half years consulting private equity firms. In his newly created position, Hunt will oversee onboard revenue, including casino operations, and will spearhead a new strategic planning initiative as well as the commercial development of licensing opportunities and business partnerships. Most recently, Hunt worked in the U.K. for Apollo Management, the private equity firm that made a $1 billion equity investment in NCL Corp. in September.

 

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE said it had invested another $200 million into its Signature of Excellence program since launching the program in November 2003, bringing its total expenditure to $425 million. The ship enhancement program was originally supposed to cost the company $250 million. Richard Meadows, executive vice president of marketing, sales and guest programs for HAL, said that the program has become a much larger part of HAL's brand identity and was thus taken into more areas of its operations than it originally intended.

CELEBRITY CRUISES unveiled details about the Celebrity Solstice, scheduled to enter service in December 2008. Several nightclubs and lounges will debut on the 2,850-passenger vessel, including a wine bar with a sommelier, a pre-dinner cocktail lounge designed to reflect the jazz period of Duke Ellington and Count Basie (1930s and '40s); a bar with the look of an ocean-going yacht; Quasar, a bar with designs from the 1960s and '70s and large screens that will create a nightly light show synchronized to music; and an observation lounge with a dance floor. Celebritys signature Martini Bar will have a new addition, a small alcove called Crush that will have an ice-filled table where guests can participate in caviar and vodka tastings.

THE SOLSTICE also will have what Celebrity calls an industry first of onboard glassblowing demonstrations. In collaboration with the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, N.Y., the Solstice will have Hot Glass Shows, with live demonstrations of glassblowing and information on the art, history and science of glassmaking. The demos will happen on the ships upper deck in a custom-designed, outdoor studio, where resident glassblowing artists will conduct the shows.

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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