DESPITE NARROWING its first-quarter net loss to $12.1 million from $14.3 million year-over-year, Ambassadors International said it was time to let go of its U.S. coastal and river cruising business, Majestic America Line. Joe Ueberroth, chairman and CEO of Ambassadors, said during the company's first-quarter conference call, "do we invest all our capital and resources on the promise of Majestic America Line, or do we invest in our businesses that are currently succeeding and appear to have more long-term growth potential?" Ueberroth said that Ambassadors was not taking Majestic bookings for the 2009 season and was hoping to sell the line soon, citing "significant interest from numerous parties in some and/or all the assets of Majestic America Line."
HOLLAND AMERICA LINE will charge between $30 and $75 per day for use of private cabanas on the 2,014-passenger Eurodam, the line's first Signature-class ship, slated to debut in July. The ship will feature private tented cabanas on two decks: the Observation Deck in an area called the Retreat, and around the midship pool on the Lido Deck. Cabanas will be furnished with woven chaises, ottomans and upholstered settees and will be stocked with bathrobes, towels, handheld fans, an Evian spray mister and iPods preloaded with music. Chilled water and iced fruit skewers will be available to cabana guests in the morning, and in the afternoon they will get frozen grapes, chocolate-covered strawberries and a glass of champagne. The Retreat, a quiet, spa-themed outdoor area, will have 14 cabanas that will cost $45 on port days and $75 on sea days, while the eight Lido Deck cabanas will go for $30 on port days and $50 on sea days.
MSC CRUISES is selling prepaid cards for teenagers to use for purchases and as room keys on MSC ships. Called the My Teen Card, the product is targeted at kids ages 12 to 17 and can be used to buy sodas and gift shop items. MSC Cruises USA CEO Richard Sasso said that the Teen Card "acknowledges the fact that teens desire a certain level of independence when it comes to onboard purchases...They will not have to go to mom and dad every time they want to make a purchase." MSC said that on Caribbean sailings passengers can buy a $30 card with $5 bonus or a $50 with $10 bonus, and in Europe the cards cost 30 euros with a 5 euro bonus or 50 euros with a 10 euro bonus.
CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES AND SEABOURN CRUISES both overhauled their Web sites.
• Carnival added new videos, virtual tours and updated images and content for the line's 22 ships. Carnival also added a section for visitors to purchase items that can be delivered to passengers' cabins prior to their cruise.
• Seabourn added more port descriptions to its Web site; it now allows passengers to research ports facts and find "insider tips" about what to explore in ports. Its Web site also allows booked guests to purchase pre- and post-cruise hotel stays and land extensions, as well as certain midcruise, overland options and shore excursions, several months before departure.
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