Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Nov. 9, 2004

THE ENCHANTMENT OF THE SEAS is operating on schedule after a construction barge struck the vessel during its call in Key West, Fla., creating a six-foot hole in the ship's hull. Royal Caribbean International was able to make temporary repairs to the puncture area, which is on the forward port side of the hull, about six feet above the water line. The line said none of the 2,040 passengers or 741 crew onboard were injured in the crash, which occurred at 8 a.m. on Nov. 5, while the Enchantment was docked at its berth in Key West.

CRUISE SHIPS resumed visits to Grand Cayman last week with calls by Carnival Cruise Lines' Imagination and Inspiration. A maximum of two cruise ships are permitted in port at one time through Nov. 13, according to McKeeva Bush, the Cayman Islands' minister of tourism. Bush said that during that time, the situation would be monitored closely and additional ships "will be added as deemed appropriate, depending on an assessment of the situation and port facilities."

REPOSITIONING SEASON is coming to a close, with ships making their way to warm waters via the Atlantic Ocean or the Panama Canal. The Grand Princess arrived in its new homeport, Galveston, after its fall foliage cruises in the Northeast; the Carnival Miracle made its way to Tampa from Baltimore; the Westerdam joined the Veendam and Volendam in Florida last weekend; and several ships from luxury lines Crystal, Radisson Seven Seas, Silversea, Seabourn and SeaDream are stateside after their summers in Europe.

NEWS BRIEFS:

· Actress Julie Andrews will be one of the celebrity guests on the Crystal Serenity's 2005 world cruise. Andrews acted as the Serenity's godmother during the ship's July 2003 debut.

· Celebrity Cruises inked a credit card deal with MBNA America Bank to create the Celebrity Rewards WorldPoints Visa. Cardholders earn double points for buying Celebrity cruises and can redeem points for air travel, hotel and car reservations and other benefits.

STAR CRUISES said it is in preliminary discussions with "potential business partners," but the company, which owns Norwegian Cruise Line and Orient Lines, did not reveal details of the discussions. An unusual spike in the stock price prompted the company to suspend trading of its shares on the Hong Kong and Singapore stock exchanges on Oct. 27. In a statement, Star said the company "from time to time" engages in discussions with potential business partners "with respect to tourism-related business." Star Cruises added that discussions are "in a preliminary stage and may or may not materialize."

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