Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: May 6, 2008

PRINCESS CRUISES will add amenities from its newer ships to the Star Princess and Caribbean Princess, such as the adults-only Sanctuary, the Crown Grill steak and seafood restaurant, a more centrally located casino and seven additional oceanview suites. The ships will also have their atriums remodeled into the piazza-style street cafe that is on the Crown Princess and Emerald Princess. The Star Princess will be upgraded during a September drydock in San Francisco; the Caribbean Princess will follow in January. Princess said that to make room for the new features the sports court, Internet cafe and wedding chapel would be relocated.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE LTD., the company that owned the Norway at the time of its 2003 boiler explosion, will plead guilty to negligence in connection with the incident. The U.S. attorney's office in Miami said that NCL had been charged with "grossly negligent operation" of the Norway according to federal shipping laws, and had placed "the lives and property of persons onboard the vessel at risk, and thereby leading to the death of at least one individual." NCL agreed to plead guilty and pay an undisclosed criminal fine in connection with the incident, which occurred on May 25, 2003, while the Norway, which was 43 years old at the time, was docked at the Port of Miami; eight crewmembers were killed and 10 were injured. NCL said that it had "cooperated fully with government investigation into this matter... We are hopeful that resolution of the recent misdemeanor charge will bring this unfortunate incident to a conclusion."

ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL named the Independence of the Seas, its third Freedom-class vessel, in a ceremony in Southampton, England, on April 30. The ship will be based in Southampton for its inaugural season; it will be the largest ship based in Europe. The ship was named by Elizabeth Hill, a British woman chosen through a contest to select a godmother who had made an extraordinary contribution to youth causes. Hill set up the Gamelea Countryside Training Trust on a farm in the Derbyshire countryside to help young people with physical or learning disabilities and those who have failed in school and are in danger of social exclusion.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN will offer its first Mexican Riviera cruises out of San Diego in September and November 2009, when the Radiance of the Seas sails a four-day itinerary that calls at Cabo San Lucas and a five-day itinerary that calls at Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada. Royal Caribbean has previously launched ships from San Diego for Panama Canal cruises but not for Mexican Riviera itineraries. Royal Caribbean is also operating Mexican Riviera cruises from Los Angeles on the Mariner of the Seas for the 2009-2010 season; the Mariner will offer seven-day, round-trip cruises from Los Angeles calling at Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan.

YTB INTERNATIONAL said that Bob Dickinson, former CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, recanted his decision to take a seat on YTB's board of directors. "Upon further review I have respectfully decided not to accept a board position with YTB. After careful consideration of my personal and retirement objectives, I determined that I should not commit to that appointment," Dickinson said in a statement. YTB Chairman Lloyd Tomer said in the statement, "We understand Bob's decision to reconsider joining our board in order to address other personal opportunities and wish him the very best in his endeavors. He is a friend and supporter of YTB."

Cruise E-Letter Editor: Johanna Jainchill
(201) 902-2065
[email protected]
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