Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Jan. 22, 2008

VICKI FREED will be Royal Caribbean International's new senior vice president of sales. Royal Caribbean announced Friday afternoon that Freed, who has spent 29 years at Carnival Cruise Lines, including 15 years as its senior vice president of sales and marketing, would head up Royal Caribbean's 345-person sales force. Freed also will manage the line's trade support and services division, which includes reservations, group sales, customer service and loyalty programs. She will report to Royal Caribbean President Adam Goldstein.

THE CRUISE LINES INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION said 12.8 million people would take a cruise this year, a 2.4% increase over 2007. The number represents a slowdown in growth compared with a 4.6% increase in passengers last year; CLIA said the slower growth was a result of less capacity coming onto the market than in years past. Eight new ships are expected to enter service this year for CLIA member lines, and six ships are scheduled to move out. In 2008, CLIA said that 10.5 million passengers would originate from North America, and the remaining 2.3 million would originate from international markets.

CLIA also revealed results from a survey of its agent members regarding this year's Wave season: 90% of the agents surveyed said they expected "as good or better" sales results than in 2007. Thirty-five percent of the respondents said they expected Wave season to be their highest volume booking period, and an almost equal number, 32%, reported that their cruise sales were generally consistent throughout the year. The agents also said that the Caribbean remained the top cruise destination, and the Mediterranean, Alaska and Hawaii were named the three fastest growing destinations. The top three reasons for taking a cruise, according to respondents, were value, the opportunity to see multiple destinations in one trip and convenience.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL wants some help from the public in naming the line's two Genesis-class ships, which will be the world's largest cruise vessels when they debut in 2009 and 2010. Between now and Feb. 29, Royal Caribbean is holding an online contest and asking people to submit name ideas for the 220,000-ton, 5,400-passenger ships. The winners of each naming contest will attend that ship's naming ceremony and be given a week-long, expense-paid cruise vacation on that vessel. The contest is being held in conjunction with USA Today, and readers are invited to submit names for the vessels at namethatship.usatoday.com.

CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL teamed up with the Mexican government, the cruise industry and tourism organizations to launch an initiative to preserve the biodiversity of Cozumel, Mexico. Under the agreement, the parties agreed to increase cruise tourism sustainability practices in what CI called "the world's most-visited cruise destination." Cozumel's Department of Tourism and the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, on behalf of its cruise line members, signed the Mesoamerican Reef Tourism Initiative, with a goal to "strike the right balance between tourism and conserving the environment it depends on." Cruise passengers will be given enhanced environmental awareness and education about Cozumel, which is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, one of the world's most endangered reefs, CI said.

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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