Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Feb. 12, 2008

THE FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL is investigating the legality of cruise line fuel surcharges, after more than 150 consumer complaints were filed with the attorney general's office since November. The office is reviewing whether the charges were properly and legally administered, and if cruise lines can retroactively impose a fuel surcharge on passengers. The cruise lines cited record-high fuel costs before instituting the charges in November; Carnival Corp.'s six North American brands added a charge of $5 per person, per day, on all sailings departing after Feb. 1, and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and NCL Corp. shortly followed suit, each with different policies.

THE CELEBRITY SOLSTICE will boast 10 restaurants when it debuts in November. Some of the eateries will be designed by Adam Tihany, who created some of New York's best known restaurants, including Per Se, Jean Georges and Le Cirque. Tihany designed the Solstice's two-level Grand Epernay dining room with a two-story wine tower; the Tuscan Grille steakhouse; and the casual Oceanview Cafe and Grill on the ship's lido deck. The ship's menus, meanwhile, were created by Celebrity's Vice President of Food and Beverage Jacques Van Staden, who previously headed kitchens in Las Vegas and Washington. Van Staden is also redesigning the menus on the rest of the Celebrity fleet.

THE PRIDE OF HAWAII sailed its final cruise from Honolulu last week, a five-day trip to Los Angeles, where it entered a six-day wet dock to be transformed into the Norwegian Jade. NCL America's newest ship left the Hawaii-based fleet and gave up its U.S.-flag status in pursuit of better yields in the European cruise market this summer as a foreign-flagged vessel. The Jade is slated to arrive in Barcelona, Spain, on March 13, and will undergo another wet dock, where NCL said it would add a casino to the ship. It begins its first Europe cruise March 30.

AKER YARDS' shares dropped last week after the shipbuilder issued a profit warning and postponed release of its 2007 profit figures. In a statement, Aker said that "preliminary information shows that the results for 2007 may be somewhat below previous guidance" and said it would release its annual results on March 3. The company said that in 2007 it was a victim of its own success: its high level of growth had caused a backlog in its Finnish operations, and deliveries had to be pushed back. Aker said that management had introduced measures to address those challenges and to "improve the situation."

Cruise E-Letter Editor: Johanna Jainchill
(201) 902-2065
[email protected]
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