Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Feb. 13, 2007

CARNIVAL CORP. signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture with Orizonia Corp.'s Iberojet Cruceros brand. Under the agreement, Iberojet Cruceros' existing two-ship fleet would transfer to the new joint venture company, which would be 75% owned by Carnival Corp. and 25% owned by Orizonia. Iberojet currently operates the 834-passenger Grand Voyager and the 1,196-passenger Grand Mistral; the joint venture company, valued at $417 million, would grow the fleet over the next several years. Pier Luigi Foschi, CEO of Carnival's Costa Cruises unit, would serve as chairman of the joint venture. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2007.

CARNIVAL CEO MICKY ARISON called the Spanish market "one of the fastest-growing segments of the European vacation industry." Carnival's move comes on the heels of Royal Caribbean Cruises' purchase of Spanish cruise line Pullmantur in November.

 

THE CARNIVAL DREAM AND CARNIVAL MAGIC will be the names of two 130,000-ton, 3,652-passenger Carnival Cruise Lines vessels on order with Italy's Fincantieri shipyard. The Carnival Dream and the Carnival Magic are scheduled to enter service in October 2009 and June 2011, respectively, and will represent a new class of vessel for Carnival. The line has two other ships on order with Fincantieri: The 110,000-ton Carnival Freedom is slated to enter service in Europe on March 5, and the 112,000-ton Carnival Splendor is set to debut in July 2008.

THE ALASKA CRUISE ASSOCIATION is the name of a new organization formed by eight  cruise lines to improve the economic opportunities for communities and businesses in Alaska that are affected by the cruise industry. The association said it intends to "work with the public and business leaders to build a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship." John Binkley, a former state senator and gubernatorial candidate, will be president of the Anchorage-based association. Binkley said the lines' focus on relations with Alaska "sharpened" after Alaska voters passed a law last year that places new taxes and regulations on the industry there.

MSC CRUISES is making good on its pledge to become the first major cruise line to offer agents commission on shore excursions booked on its cruises. MSC will give agents 10% commission on excursions booked at least three days prior to the cruise. MSC USA President Rick Sasso originally promised to give agents 5%, but he said that upon consideration 10% was the more appropriate amount for the work that goes into booking a shore excursion.

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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