Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Jan. 4, 2004

WITH WAVE KICKING OFF, several companies are launching ad campaigns. Royal Caribbean International is among them; the line kicked off its winter-weather ad campaign last week. The 30-second ads will run on select national TV stations and show consumers bundled up in their winter clothes and then switches to bathing suit-clad cruisers. But in addition, the ad buy strategy has an unusual twist: the ads will air on TV stations in New York, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia when local stations activate their storm coverage units for severe winter weather, Royal Caribbean said. In addition, banner ads will appear on the local forecast pages of weather-focused Web sites such as Weather.com and AccuWeather.com when icy or snowy conditions exist in those four markets.

CRYSTAL CRUISES: A revised drydock schedule for the Crystal Harmony prompted Crystal Cruises to add a cruise in Alaska and cancel two voyages in the fall, on Nov. 25 and Dec. 5. The new Alaska cruise, departing May 9, is the lines only 12-day, roundtrip Vancouver cruise, and it includes a maiden call in Whittier and three glacier calls: Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier and Columbia Glacier.

RADISSON SEVEN SEAS CRUISES (RSSC) officially said it has extended its contract to manage the Paul Gauguin in Tahiti another year, until January 2007. The 320-passenger Paul Gauguin was sold this fall to a joint venture between tour operators Grand Circle Corp. and Vantage Deluxe World Travel, which had planned to move the vessel at the end of 2005 to destinations such as South America, Europe and Antarctica. But in a statement, RSSC said its management contract for the vessel had been extended for an additional year, and the ship will continue to sail around the Tahitian Islands.

THE SUPREME COURT set a Feb. 28 date to hear oral arguments in the Spector vs. Norwegian Cruise Line case, which seeks to determine whether foreign-flagged cruise ships must comply with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Two separate U.S. appeals courts have issued opposing opinions on the case, which originated in Houston in 2000.

ALTERED COURSE: A Few cruise lines with ships in the tsunami-ravaged region of southern Asia altered course last week:

· Star Cruises amended the itineraries of its SuperStar Virgo and SuperStar Gemini to avoid calling in Phuket, Thailand, until further notice. Given the magnitude of the natural disaster ... Star Cruises has decided on the change in the best interests of its passengers, the line said in an early statement.

· Star Clippers relocated the Star Flyers homeport from Phuket to Singapore for the Jan. 8, 15, 22, 29 and Feb. 5 seven-day sailings and will sail in Malaysia. The line said it expects the sailing ship will return to Phuket in mid-February.

· Swan Hellenics Minerva II's Jan. 1 cruise was altered; the ship will no longer call in Colombo, Sri Lanka; Male, Maldives; and Port Blair, India. A spokeswoman said future cruises will be affected, but revised itineraries were not yet available.

· The Seabourn Spirit is scheduled to cruise to Phuket and Yangon, Myanmar, in mid-January. It is too soon to assess the extent of damages and the effect on that cruise at this point, the spokesman said.

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