Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: June 3, 2007

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES will substantially beef up its West Coast presence in 2009 when it homeports its newest and largest ship, the 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor, in Los Angeles. Beginning in March 2009, the Splendor will operate year-round, seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach, Calif., following its inaugural schedule of European and Caribbean sailings. The Splendor will further bolster Carnival's position in Southern California, which is currently home to four Carnival ships. With the arrival of the Splendor, the line expects to carry approximately 650,000 guests annually on these cruises, almost twice the amount of any other cruise line, it said. The 113,300-ton Splendor will call in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

PRINCESS CRUISES is planning its biggest South America deployment to date for the 2008-2009 season. The Pacific Princess, the Royal Princess and the Star Princess will run 21 departures on six different itineraries, including two new ones: a 12-day sailing on the Royal Princess between Fort Lauderdale and Guayaquil, Ecuador, which includes an optional cruise-tour to the Galapagos; and a 14-day Cape Horn sailing on the Star Princess between Rio de Janeiro and Santiago, Chile. The Pacific Princess will operate nine Amazon cruises, a record number for the line.

AZAMARA CRUISES has cancelled the first sailing on its second ship, the Azamara Quest, and postponed the date of the Quest's inaugural sailing by five days to allow the ship extra time in drydock. The line sent a letter to guests booked on the line's Oct. 19, 12-day inaugural cruise, explaining that the ship would be ready on Oct. 24 and would instead sail a two-day, roundtrip cruise from Miami to the Bahamas and a five-day Caribbean cruise from Miami on Oct. 26. In a letter from Azamara Cruises President Dan Hanrahan, the line said that the "modification will offer us an additional five full days in dry dock to ensure our ship is entirely prepared to welcome guests." The decision came after Azamara had to delay the first sailing on its first ship, the Azamara Journey, by one day to complete the ship's drydock improvements; the line gave passengers on that cruise a full refund.

MSC CRUISES said it was restructuring its True Partnership commission program for travel agents to allow agents to earn upwards of 17% on cruise bookings. The cruise line said that agent commissions would depend on reaching tiered production levels, a new practice for MSC Cruises. Rick Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises in the U.S., said that the tiers, called silver, gold and platinum, will "give agents something to shoot for. We will have targets, some very low level tiers, for people to achieve to earn the overrides."

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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