Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: February 28, 2006

HOLLAND AMERICA inaugurated its newest ship last Wednesday, the Noordam. Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin, the ships godmother, christened the vessel in front of 1000 spectators in New York City. The 81,769-ton ship holds 70 more people than other vessels in its class. It currently is sailing on its first Caribbean voyage, which included the maiden call at Carnival Corp.s cruise facility in Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos.

EASYCRUISE Chairman Stelios Haji-Ioannou is searching for a CEO to manage the cruise line and help it move to an office in the U.S. (its headquarters will be in Monaco) and expand its brand, the company said. EasyCruise also appointed Paul Ellerby, former managing director of Costa Cruise Lines, interim sales and marketing director. The line also wants to franchise its brand to other ships and riverboats that will embrace its no-frills concept.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN sent travel agent Jami Sales to the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, last week as the winner of RCs Go for the Gold incentive contest. Sales is owner of Cruising Co. Etc. Inc., the agency that won the contest by booking passengers on 15 qualified sailings. The prize included airfare, hotel accommodations, some meals and tours and Olympic events.

VIKING RIVER CRUISES added one ship and removed another from its fleet of three on the Yangtze River. The 306-passenger Viking Century Sun will replace the 186-passenger Viking Century Star. The company will offer four Yangtze itineraries on cruises from March through November.

PETER DEILMANN CRUISES will expand its European garden theme cruises this year. Itineraries will explore Versailles and Monets garden in France, Dutch and Belgian cottage gardens and the Saxony and Elbe River regions gardens in Germany. Ocean sailings will explore gardens in Southern England and Ireland. Local experts will give tours and onboard gardening seminars.

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