Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Nov. 14, 2006

NCL CORP. made a $49 million profit during third-quarter 2006, a 19% year-over-year increase. Revenue was up 20%, to $592.3 million, driven primarily by a 15% increase in capacity days, higher onboard revenue and an increase in air-sea tickets, NCL said. Yields were essentially flat, with an improvement in NCL's international business counterbalanced by downward pricing pressure for its Hawaii product, which was affected by a 64% increase in capacity and an increase in air travel costs. The company's net income included $7.3 million in connection with a settlement agreement for the remaining portion of the company's claims against the builder of the Pride of America, whose debut was delayed a year after the vessel took on water and sank in the shipyard.

LOOKING FORWARD, NCL said bookings continue to be closer to the sail date than in 2005, and the company expects to see downward pressure on pricing through the first quarter of 2007, especially in Hawaii and the Caribbean.

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE named its first Signature-class vessel the Eurodam. The 2,044-passenger, 86,000-ton ship, the largest to be constructed by the line, is scheduled for delivery in summer 2008 from Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for an estimated all-in cost of $450 million. HAL CEO Stein Kruse said the line chose the name Eurodam to "celebrate our European and Dutch heritage and our third century of sailing in one of the world's most popular cruising regions."

NCL AMERICA said it was pleased by new legislation that increases flexibility in filling crew positions on U.S.-flagged cruise ships. Both the current and new law permit 25% of the crew to be non-U.S. citizens, but the newer law broadens the type of work visas that non-citizens can hold. NCL said the law in no way changes the 75% U.S. citizen requirement, and that it will not affect any of the existing crew currently employed on its U.S.-flagged ships.

SABRE TRAVEL NETWORK launched a cruise shopping and booking tool called Sabre Cruises. Sabre said the tool will give agents access to a browser-based booking engine with expanded functionality and graphical content for shopping and booking cruises.

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