Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: July 12, 2005

EASYCRUISE, the low-cost cruise startup that offers hop-on, hop-off cruises in the Mediterranean, finalized its plans for a Caribbean winter, the line said last week. The EasyCruise1 will launch seven-day voyages Nov. 12 from Bridgetown, Barbados. Prices start at about $16 per person, per night.

RADISSON SEVEN SEAS CRUISES has thrown its hat into the ring of ultra luxury excursions and shore options with a program called the Travel Concierge. The program includes four different facets: Concierge Choice, which offers a menu of exclusive shore excursions; Concierge Collection, a group of pre- and post-cruise hotel packages with extras such as personal shoppers and private jets; Concierge a la Carte, which enables passengers to craft their own pre- or post-cruise trips or shore excursions; and Hotels a la Carte, where passengers can select their own pre- or post-cruise hotels. The line opened a new phone line, (888) TOUR-321, for passengers to create the shore tours; a $100 concierge fee applies.

NCL CORP. hired away Bonnie Buimi from her position as senior vice president and treasurer at Royal Caribbean Cruises. Buimi will become NCL's CFO effective July 20, replacing longtime CFO Lamarr Cooler. Financial analyst Tim Conder at A.G. Edwards said last week, that "we view this as somewhat of a coup for NCL." He also noted that the "remaining ranks of RCL's senior executive management are now thin," following the departures of Buimi and former President Jack Williams.


DISCOVERY WORLD CRUISES brokered a deal with the Ecuadorian government to offer two sailings that include the Galapagos Islands, a tightly controlled cruising region that is restricted to small ships that fly the Ecuadoran flag. The cruises, on April 7, and April 27, will end and begin, respectively, with two days in the Galapagos and three nights in Quito, Ecuador.

CRUISE SHIPS were moving out of the path of Hurricane Dennis this weekend.  The Carnival Conquest, which sails from New Orleans, arrived in port a day late, on July 11. The current cruise was converted into a six-day voyage, departing July 11 at 2 p.m.; passengers received a 15% discount and an onboard credit. Arrivals and departures were disrupted for the New Orleans-based Sensation; the Tampa-based Inspiration and Carnival Miracle; the Mobile, Ala.-based Holiday; the Fort Lauderdale-based Empress of the Seas; and the Miami-based Navigator of the Seas. Several other ships sailed modified itineraries to avoid the storm.


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