Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: June 3, 2008

THE CELEBRITY SOLSTICE will debut several weeks early: It will sail its maiden cruise on Nov. 23, rather than on Dec. 14, entering service with a new Thanksgiving cruise. Two seven-night sailings on Nov. 30 and Dec. 7 also were added which will depart from Fort Lauderdale and visit Puerto Rico, St. Maarten and St. Kitts. Customers who booked the Dec. 14 sailing because it was the maiden voyage will be given until June 12 to switch their booking to the Nov. 23 cruise.

CALIFORNIA'S STATE LEGISLATURE approved legislation that would require cruise ships sailing in California waters to have two ocean rangers onboard: one a licensed marine engineer, and one a certified peace officer. State Sen. Joe Simitian (D), the bill's sponsor, said his long-term goal was "to create a seamless network of protection from one end of the Pacific Coast to the other through a series of agreements with other Pacific states." Cruise Lines International Association CEO Terry Dale responded that "the cruise industry provides its customers with an extremely safe experience, and our customer satisfaction level of more than 95% is an important statistic that means much to the industry." The measure now moves to the state assembly for a hearing this summer.

CARIBBEAN CRUISE PRICING is on the rise while Europe cruise prices are down, according to a Wachovia survey. With capacity up 15% to 20% in Europe this year, Wachovia analyst Tim Conder said that "European pricing remains the most challenging" for the industry but that, after currency benefits are realized, European cruise prices will be only slightly down. Pricing in the Caribbean is up almost 10%, the report said, and Conder said that, despite skyrocketing fuel prices, he remained positive about cruise stocks in general due to the "ongoing overall solid pricing environment despite economic challenges."

AZAMARA CRUISES' 694-passenger Azamara Quest will overnight in 10 ports during its 2009-2010 Asia season. The ship will depart from three homeports, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore, and will sail a series of 14- to 18-day southeast and northeast Asia cruises and two 24-day repositioning trips, each featuring two to six overnight calls. The Quest also will visit three ports that will be new for Azamara: Nagasaki, Japan; Phuket, Thailand; and Taipei, Taiwan.

CRUISE PLANNERS launched CP University, a program for Cruise Planners agents with a curriculum of more than 20 topics, including marketing, advertising, public relations, product updates, technology, sales and Web marketing. The program is free for any of the 700 members of Cruise Planners' network of home-based agent franchises.

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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