Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Jan. 25, 2004

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE: Itineraries are already in full swing for 2006 at Holland America Line. The Zuiderdam, which has been in the Caribbean since its 2002 debut, will move to Alaska in 2006, along with the Westerdam, which sailed Europe for the past two summers. That means HAL will have eight Alaska-based ships three of them Vista-class the lines largest concentration there ever. In other deployment news, the Amsterdam will leave Alaska to sail in the Baltic region during summer 2006, and the Statendam will sail in Australia and New Zealand during winter 2006. The Prinsendam's 2006 world cruise, meanwhile, will include a Libya call.

CELEBRITY, meanwhile, is going to Asia and the South Pacific for the first time in 2006. The line will use its 1,950-passenger Summit. Itineraries are still under development but would likely include open-jaw cruises of varying lengths to places such as Australia, China, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Vietnam. Look for the books to open on the product by April.

XPEDITIONS: Celebrity also rolled out its 2005 Xpeditions products, which include a two- or four-night visit to Easter Island; a six-hour shore excursion to the ruins in the Mayan city of Copan, Honduras; and a four-night, post-cruise tour of Egypt and the Pyramids. Unlike Celebrity's first foray into the Xpeditions line, which it did by buying a small ship for Galapagos cruises, the new Xpeditions are add-ons to established itineraries. In fact, Celebrity said this year it will include one Xpeditions experience on every major cruise itinerary.

CARNIVAL CORP. is taking a five-cent per-share hit this year on the cancellation of P&O Cruises' world voyage. The cruise was to be on P&O's 1,874-passenger Aurora, but the ship began experiencing propulsion-system problems. Passengers booked on the world cruise are being provided refunds and future cruise discounts.

THE CRUISE LINES INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION (CLIA) is estimating that 11.1 million people will take a cruise in 2005, up about 4.6% from the projected 2004 figures. The annual bump will be a little smaller than last year's, simply because there's not that much tonnage coming on line: Only three new ships will be delivered this year. Occupancies, meanwhile, are expected to remain high. CLIA expects that 2004 load factors were about 105%, which is what they predict for 2005, too.

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