AIDA CRUISES opened the European Cruise Academy, headquartered in AIDA’s home town of Rostock, Germany, offering a curriculum focused on the nautical-technical aspects of cruising. The academy was formed in cooperation with the University of Technology, Business and Design in Wismar, Germany. In a statement, the line, which is owned by Carnival Corp., said that “in the booming cruise market, the demand for well-trained employees and executives has risen strongly. The European Cruise Academy therefore specifically invests in the future and the qualification of the maritime trainees.”
FUEL SURCHARGE POLICIES continued to come under scrutiny last week, when the Florida Attorney General’s Office launched its second investigation into the fees, this time looking into “any potential antitrust implications arising from various cruise lines implementing these fuel surcharges.” Only a few weeks before, the office revealed it was reviewing the legality of the retroactively assessed fuel surcharges. The second investigation came after a lawsuit was filed that named seven cruise companies and the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association and alleged that the cruise lines colluded and levied unreasonably high fuel surcharges. The Florida attorney general’s office said its investigation was unrelated to the lawsuit.
AZAMARA CRUISES AND HOLLAND AMERICA LINE both introduced enhanced Web sites last week, each featuring virtual ship tours.
• Azamara’s site offers users the ability to book cruises online and browse itineraries, cruise tours and shore excursions. Customers who book at Azamara’s site can create a “My Azamara” account, which enables them to view a summary of cruise reservations and add elements such as tour packages, transportation, reservations linked to other travelers in their party and dining arrangements. Visit www.azamaracruises.com.
• HAL’s site has updated graphics and search tools that focus on the line’s tours and itineraries; its Cruise Finder tool allows visitors to narrow down different itinerary options, and agents can use the new Alaska Tour Guide tool to help clients choose cruise tours. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
HOLLAND AMERICA LINE, meanwhile, is offering agents who book and deposit at least five new cabins on any HAL cruise departing after May 1 a free balcony cabin on the Westerdam’s three-day Bahamas cruise on April 19, roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. HAL has set aside 150 cabins for the giveaway. Bookings must be made by April 1. For more information, go to www.hollandamerica.com and click on Travel Agent Headquarters.
Cruise E-Letter Editor: Johanna Jainchill
Phone: (201) 902-2065
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