Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: June 28, 2005

MSC CRUISES has come a long way in the past four years, growing from a small cruise line with three older ships to a serious player in the market with seven vessels in the water. And more are on the way. The line announced it has a tentative agreement with the French yard Chantiers de lAtlantique to build two 130,000-ton, 3,200-passenger vessels. That is in addition to the MSC Musica and sister ship the MSC Orchestra, which are due from Chantiers in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Were becoming a lot more noteworthy, MSCs North American CEO Rick Sasso said. Sasso also noted that the cruise line has reached an agreement with Expedia, making its inventory available via the Web site. The MSC sailings are included in Expedias cruise price guarantee.

A LAWSUIT BROUGHT BY a former Carnival Cruise Lines Personal Vacation Planner (PVP) against Carnival Corp., claiming the company failed to pay PVPs overtime compensation, was granted class-action status in Miami federal court. The court certified the class as PVPs or Vacation Planners employed in Carnivals Miami and Miramar, Fla., offices between January 2002 and the present. Carnival said in a statement that it considers PVPs to be exempt from overtime since they earn the majority of their pay from commission, and it added it planned to vigorously defend itself.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE is working on a Web site that will include a consumer booking engine because [cruisers] are requesting it, according to Executive Vice President Andy Stuart. The site redesign should be complete right after the new year. NCL has an online res tool for agents and is one of the last lines to roll out one for the public.

THIS SUMMERS MUST-READ for followers of the cruise biz hit the bookshelves this week. Devils on the Deep Blue Sea, written by Kristoffer A. Garin and published by Viking, is a 350-page peek behind the curtain at an industry described by the author as rapacious, insatiable and feral. Garin spent time with some of the industrys heavy hitters Micky Arison, Richard Fain and Peter Ratcliffe, to name-drop a few in researching the book.

SEABOURN APPARENTLY wont be following in the wake of Crystal Cruises and Radisson Seven Seas when it comes to tacking on a fuel surcharge, at least not yet. The only place we have implemented fuel surcharges is with charters, Deborah Natansohn, Seabourns president, told Travel Weekly. At the moment, we dont have any plans to do it to our FIT customers.


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