Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: June 5, 2007

SEABOURN CRUISES released details of the design plan for the first of the two $250 million, 450-passenger ships it commissioned from Italy's T. Mariotti shipyard. Seabourn said the yard recently cut the first steel plates for the ship, which is slated to enter service in June 2009. The ship will have 13 categories of suites, four dining venues and six bars; it was designed to mirror the silhouette of the existing Seabourn ships but contain additional facilities and amenities. At three times the size of current Seabourn vessels but just double the passengers, Seabourn said the ship would have one of the highest space-per-guest ratios in the industry. "We've been careful to incorporate Seabourn's signature features while designing the next generation of ultra luxury ship to satisfy the desires of a new generation of luxury travelers," said Pamela Conover, Seabourn president and CEO, in a statement.

MSC CRUISES changed the name of one of its two post-Panamax ships under construction from the MSC Serenata to the MSC Splendida. MSC said the name Splendida was chosen because Raphaela Aponte, who is responsible for every ship's interior design details and is the wife of MSC owner Gianluigi Aponte, was so enthusiastic about the ship's architectural designs. The 133,000-ton MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia, the largest ships commissioned by MSC to date, are scheduled to join MSC's fleet in fall 2008 and spring 2009, respectively.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL said 200 of the 3,846 passengers on its newest ship, the Liberty of the Seas, experienced gastrointestinal illness on its seven-day, May 26 sailing from Miami. The next cruise left Miami five hours late on June 2 so that Royal Caribbean could carry out enhanced cleaning procedures and protocols, as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Twelve of the ship's 1,425 crew members were also affected, Royal Caribbean said. It said that all affected passengers and crew responded well to over-the-counter medication administered onboard the ship. The CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program said that Royal Caribbean increased cleaning and disinfection procedures, notified oncoming passengers about the illness, delayed the subsequent voyage's embarkation to implement additional cleaning and disinfection procedures and staffed the subsequent voyage with additional crew to clean and disinfect the ship during the voyage.

THE CRUISE LINES INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION welcomed Majestic America Line as its 22nd member last week, saying that "America's largest river and coastal cruise company" adds diversity to its membership. Majestic America operates seven U.S.-flagged vessels on the Mississippi and Ohio and tributary rivers; the Columbia, Snake and Willamette rivers in the Pacific Northwest; and Alaska's Inside Passage. The addition brings CLIA's membership to 97% of the cruise capacity in North America, CLIA said. Majestic America is a division of Ambassadors Cruise Group, LLC, which also operates Windstar Cruises. Majestic American will also remain members of the Niche Cruise Marketing Alliance.

MAJESTIC AMERICA cancelled three more departures on the Empress of the North, whose hull was damaged after it ran aground on May 14 in Alaska's Inside Passage. The ship's June 9, June 16 and June 23 sailings were cancelled. Majestic America said it was taking no new bookings for cruises on the ship before July 14. The ship, currently in drydock in Ketchikan, Alaska, is scheduled to be moved on June 5 to another U.S. shipyard, because the Ketchikan yard has prior ship repair commitments.

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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