Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: May 1, 2007

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE will become the second major cruise line to convert to all-electronic documentation, beginning May 28. Passengers on NCL and NCL America cruises will have access to e-documents 60 days prior to sailing, a move that offers "increased flexibility and choice" and "enhancing reliability and earlier delivery of cruise documents," said Andy Stuart, NCL's executive vice president of marketing and sales. Princess Cruises in November called itself the first cruise company to go to all-electronic documents. Royal Caribbean International sends guests paper tickets and allows them to check in online, and Carnival Cruise Lines said it currently sends paper documents but is in the process of testing an e-documents system that will let guests choose whether they receive paper or electronic documents.

THE TAHITIAN PRINCESS will go to Alaska in summer 2008, the first time the 670-passenger ship will offer cruises beyond South Pacific waters. The vessel will join four other Princess ships on Gulf of Alaska itineraries and will offer what Princess calls its "most destination-intensive itinerary in Alaska," a 14-day, roundtrip sailing from Vancouver that will call in the Alaskan ports of Kodiak, Valdez and Seward in addition to the regular Gulf of Alaska stops of Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway. Princess acquired the Tahitian Princess from French Polynesia's government in 2002, and under an agreement with that country sailed year-round French Polynesia itineraries for three years. Princess fulfilled that agreement in 2005, and while the ship will return to French Polynesia for winter 2008 sailings, the line wants to use its smaller ships to expand its collection of unique itineraries, said spokeswoman Julie Benson.

CARIBBEAN PRICING IS IMPROVING while Alaska pricing is down and Europe remains strong, according to a report from investment firm AG Edwards.  Leisure analyst Tim Conder, in looking at pricing trends for the third and fourth quarters of 2007, wrote that Caribbean pricing "appears to be stabilizing and continues to slowly improve" and that "pricing for both short and long itineraries appears to be bottoming based on our pricing surveys." Conder noted that Caribbean cruises occupy 40% of Carnival Cruise Lines and 54% of Royal Caribbean and Celebrity's 2007 capacity, and that as the industry leader Carnival's price stabilization bodes well for the rest of the industry in the region. The AG Edwards survey said for a third consecutive survey that Alaskan pricing is weak, with Carnival pricing in May and June down approximately 20%.

GREENPEACE IN GREECE said it could take months before more than 400 tons of oil is removed from tanks on the sunken Sea Diamond, the cruise ship that sank off Santorini last month, and said that Louis was moving slowly in getting the oil removed from the tanks. In response, Louis Cruises said it had hired "one of the most reputable companies specializing in the prevention and management of sea pollution" and that is has been "cooperating fully with the local Greek authorities in preventing and minimizing any possible effect on the environment following the sinking of the vessel." Louis said the delay was also due to "the evaluation of the most appropriate way of minimizing any threat" and that it had to outline a plan "which takes into account the considerable practical difficulties which arise from the location of the vessel and exact position of the tanks within the hull structure."

PORT UPDATES:

" The Port of Lisbon will spend $60 million on a cruise ship terminal with capacity for up to five cruise ships. Construction begins this summer at the Santa Apolonia pier, with expected completion in 2008. The port said that cruise ship traffic to Lisbon increased by 25% in 2005, to 44,000 passengers.

" Saguenay, a Canadian city north of Quebec on the St. Lawrence River, will spend $29.4 million to develop a cruise ship port that is expected to be operational in 2008. Currently, ships that visit Saguenay tender in Ha Ha Bay.

" The Ports of Stockholm have begun planning a 975,000-square-foot cruise terminal expected to be ready for the city's 2008 summer cruise season. The terminal will be the Swedish capital's first purpose-built cruise facility and will be "modern and environmentally sound," said Ulla Hamilton, the Ports of Stockholm's chairman.

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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