Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: July 26, 2005

ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL and Celebrity Cruises are rolling out online check-in for their cruises, starting with passengers booked on Royal Caribbeans Navigator of the Seas and Celebritys Zenith. The lines said they expect online check-in to be available fleetwide by September. In the new process, passengers fill out all their cruise documents, from immigration forms to onboard credit account information, on Royal Caribbean and Celebritys Web sites. When they reach the pier, passengers present a printed confirmation e-mail and their identification to agents at an express counter.

PIERSIDE check-in time for passengers who go through the online check-in process is reduced from three to four minutes to about 30 seconds, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity said.

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES CEO Bob Dickinson was on the dais during a Q&A session onboard the Carnival Liberty, which embarked on its first Mediterranean sailings last week. A few excerpts:

* Dickinson said the 180,000-ton figure quoted in the press on Carnival Corp.s prototype megaship, code-named Pinnacle Project, isnt a Carnival-approved figure. Weve never given a number, Dickinson said. This is revolutionary, as opposed to evolutionary. Were still courting.

* About the chances of Carnival Cruise Lines selling short cruises in the Mediterranean: The problem is that Corporate doesnt give us enough ships, Dickinson said.

* Any plans to cruise in other Europe locations? There are none to speak of at this time.

FINCANTIERI, the Italian shipbuilder, is negotiating to acquiring a stake in two repair yards: the Lloyd Werft yard in Bremerhaven, Germany, and the Grand Bahamas yard near Freeport. We are closely negotiating with both the yards mentioned, said Enrico Buschi, Fincantieris executive senior vice president of cruise ship business. The fleet is on one side growing, and on the other side aging. We think this could create a demand for more refurbishing.

 

SILVERSEA CRUISES switched up its alternative dining arrangements on the Silver Whisper: The Terrace Cafe, which formerly featured a changing menu of regional cuisines during dinner hours, is now dedicated to Italian food and has a new name La Terrazza to go with the dishes. Silversea brought in Marco Betti, a Florentine chef, to design the menus and said the concept would further its image as an upscale Italian-influenced line. The Terrazza concept will roll out on the lines three other ships later this year. During the day, the eatery will continue to be named the Terrace Cafe and offer casual fare.

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