Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Jan. 8, 2008

ALASKA ranked as the most popular cruise destination in Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates' 2008 Travel Trends Survey. Alaska beat out the Western, Southern, and Eastern Caribbean, and Europe, to take the top slot. Mediterranean cruising was the fifth most popular international destinations category -- it was ranked #15 in 2004 and #10 in 2007 -- beating out traditional, land-based favorites such as London; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and several Mexican destinations. Carlson said in a statement that "not only is there greater [Mediterranean cruise] inventory than ever before, many U.S. travelers are finding this is the way to travel to Europe in order to get the most for their money as possible."

PRINCESS CRUISES will expand its Chef's Table dining program to most of its fleet over the next few months, citing positive reception on the Emerald Princess, the Crown Princess and the Caribbean Princess, where it is currently available. The $75 per person meal offers guests a dining event that begins with appetizers and cocktails in the ship's galley and then continues with a custom-designed, multi-course tasting dinner paired with wine in the main dining room with the ship's executive chef. The meal can be reserved by up to 10 passengers per night. It will debut aboard most vessels in the fleet in early 2008, with the exception of the line's smaller ships, the Tahitian Princess, the Pacific Princess and the Royal Princess.

CRYSTAL CRUISES will offer three golf theme cruises in 2008: An April cruise in the Mediterranean, an early November cruise to the Canary Islands and a late September cruise along the coast of Canada and New England. The luxury line said it would offer championship golf ashore and special events on board; professional golfers will meet Crystal guests at some golf courses to offer group and private instruction. Crystal said its staff would handle every detail of the optional shoreside golf excursions, including tee times; tipping and transportation for caddies and carts; and storing and cleaning guests' golf clubs and shoes after each round.

NCL CORP. closed the $1 billion cash equity investment deal with private equity group Apollo Management on Jan. 7. Apollo is now a 50% owner of NCL Corp. through its affiliates NCL Investment Ltd. and NCL Investment II Ltd.; Star Cruises, NCL's previous sole shareholder, has retained all of its existing shares in NCL and remains the other 50% owner. Apollo will name the majority of the NCL board of directors with certain consent rights previously retained by Star, NCL said. "With the Apollo investment, NCL is now in the strongest financial condition we have ever enjoyed in our 41-year history," said NCL Corp.'s president and CEO Colin Veitch in a statement.

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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