Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Feb. 20, 2007

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES said it would postpone sending the Carnival Triumph to New Orleans in August to operate weekly, year-round cruises there. Carnival CEO Bob Dickinson said that "lingering misconceptions by the vacationing public as to the recovery of New Orleans' tourism infrastructure... has necessitated a reevaluation of our timeline for adding a second ship to that port."  The Triumph will instead stay in Miami at least through April 2008, Carnival said, and offer week-long Caribbean itineraries that Dickinson said have "received a tremendous amount of enthusiasm from consumers and travel agents." Carnival reintroduced its cruise program from New Orleans in October with the launch of four- and five-day cruises on the Fantasy, and it had planned to make the Triumph the only year-round ship sailing out of New Orleans beginning in late August.

THE PORT OF NEW ORLEANS was disappointed by Carnival's decision but also encouraged that Carnival was still committed to bringing the ship to New Orleans at a later date, said Chris Bonura, the port's communications manager. "We also understand that many travelers continue to have misconceptions about the city's recovery," Bonura said. "The French Quarter and other parts of the city where tourists congregate are back in full swing with hotels, restaurants and attractions reopened and eager to welcome visitors." The city formed a coalition that includes the port; the Louisiana Office of Tourism, Recreation and Culture; the Greater New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau; the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation; and the cruise lines that sail from New Orleans, "to get this message out," Bonura said.

THE MAJESTY OF THE SEAS reentered service this week following a refurbishment during a drydock in the Bahamas. The Royal Caribbean International ship will resume its year-round, three- and four-night schedule of Bahamas cruises from Miami. During the 28-day drydock the ship received several new dining and entertainment options, and overhauls were done on cabins, the Majesty Day Spa and ShipShape Fitness Center, conference rooms, the pool deck, the theater, the casino and the Adventure Ocean youth area, which has a new, teen-focused nightclub and lounge. The Majesty, constructed in 1992, is the third ship in the Sovereign class to be refurbished; the Monarch of the Seas was refurbished in 2003 and the Sovereign of the Seas in 2004.

AIDA CRUISES will call the second of four vessels it has on order the AidaBella. Currently being built by German shipbuilder Meyer Werft at a cost of about $409 million, the 68,500-ton ship is scheduled to enter service in spring 2008. Its sister ship, the AidaDiva, will be the first of the four newbuilds to enter service when it is inaugurated in Hamburg, Germany, on April 20. Aida Cruises is a subsidiary of Carnival Corp. and currently has a fleet of four ships: the AidaCara, AidaVita, AidaAura and AidaBlu.

NORWEGIAN COASTAL VOYAGE said there were no traces of pollution or environmental damage at or around Deception Island in Antarctica, where its ship the Nordkapp was grounded Jan. 30. The cruise line said that an extensive analysis of the area was done by several authorities at the request of the NCV's parent, the Hurtigruten Group, and that all traces of the limited discharge of marine gas oil from the Nordkapp had disappeared by Feb. 3, consistent with the fact that marine gas oil easily evaporates and rapidly degrades, NCV said. The ship suffered minor damage to its outer hull after striking underwater rocks near Deception Island, one of the South Shetland Islands in Antarctica.

Cruise E-Letter Editor: Johanna Jainchill

Phone: (201) 902-2065

[email protected]

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