Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: December 6, 2005

MSC WILL MAKE A BEELINE FOR THE BIG APPLE by entering the citys year-round market with the Lirica in April 2007. Rick Sasso, MSCs U.S. CEO, said historically, North America has been a seasonal market for us, but we decided to bring more ships here in the last 12 to 15 months. He added: We think MSC is the perfect brand for the Northeast market, and our heritage style of cruising has not been available in this market on a year-round basis for decades, -- a reference to Home Lines, a company that touted an Italian-style ambience onboard and previously homeported year-round in New York.

MEANWHILE, MSCs GROWTH CONTINUES, both on the ship-side (it will debut one new ship every year through 2009) and on the marketing side: The line will unveil a multimedia ad campaign in February and will capitalize on its relationship with Sophia Loren, the godmother of the Opera and the Lirica. In addition, MSC is testing a sales lead-referral component of its B-to-B relationship program called True Partnership, with benefits such as higher commissions, cooperative promotional support, commissionable add-ons and the like. The line plans to launch the lead-referral program to participating agents within the next 60 days, Sasso said.

SILVERSEA CRUISES said it will operate 11 Alaska itineraries on its 382-passenger Silver Shadow next summer. Cruises will range from nine to 14 days, offering an alternative to the mainstream mega-ships, said David Morris, Silverseas senior vice president of sales for North America.

AMADEUS ADDED CUNARD TO ITS Amadeus Cruise roster enabling agents to book the Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2 via one of the more than 40,000 Amadeus Cruise terminals in 80 countries worldwide. Bob Lowry, senior vice president, products and support, Amadeus North America, said, our continued investment in our Amadeus Cruise application has resulted in significant efficiencies in time and productivity for our users.

CRUISE NOTES:

  • Holland America Line beefed up its agent training by updating its HAL Academy training workbook and said it will launch a Post-Graduate Program.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line will attempt to educate its kiddie cruisers about the affects of marine pollution via the new Officer Snook Water Pollution Program, which will be incorporated into NCLs Kids Crew programming.
  • Carnival Corp. said its donations to various hurricane disaster relief funds will total more than $7 million.
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