Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: November 22, 2005

AT WORLD TRAVEL MARKET, STAR CRUISES announced it will base the Superstar Libra, the former Norwegian Sea, in Malta for seven-day cruises beginning June 6. Weve decided to try to attract the Asian market to the Med, said Michael Dupont, Star Cruises director of sales and marketing, Europe. The Malta cruises will be marketed in the U.S. by Norwegian Cruise Lines. The Star product also is sold by some tour operators in the U.S., including Asian Affairs and Gala Tours.  The Libra is a 713-foot, 740-cabin ship with a capacity of 1,480 passengers, currently based in India. Most of the sailings for 17 weeks from the opening day will be eight-day roundtrips from Maltas capital, Valletta. Several other itineraries will be available, including a 10-day Valletta-to-Rome, an eight-day roundtrip from Rome and a 13-day Rome-to-Valletta voyage.

MEANWHILE, THE SUPERSTAR GEMINI, the former Cunard Crown Jewel and sister to the Fred Olsen Braemar, will be deployed in the South China Sea cruising Indochina. The main itinerary is an eight-day cruise of the Straits of Malacca with calls in Singapore; Kuala Lumpur and Penang, Malaysia; and Langkawi Island, Krabi and Phuket, Thailand. Other China Sea itineraries for the Superstar Gemini will include Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Hong Kong as well as other ports. The Superstar Gemini is a 537-foot vessel with 400 cabins and a passenger capacity of 800. Small-ship cruising can be a fairly expensive proposition, said Steven Black, Vice President of passenger services and yield management for Star Cruises.

THE JEWEL OF THE SEAS WONT be hitting the Bermuda/Caribbean trail in the fall of 2006 but instead will start four seven-night Canada/New England sailings roundtrip from Boston on Sept. 23.  The 2,100-passenger ship, previously scheduled to sail 10-day Bermuda/Caribbean trips, will be the only vessel to sail Canada/New England trips for the line next fall. After a 12-night transatlantic cruise from Harwich, England, beginning Sept. 11, the ship will roundtrip from Boston, with calls to Marthas Vineyard, Mass.; Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine; St. John, New Brunswick; and Halifax, Nova Scotia. On Oct. 31, the Jewel will reposition from Boston to Fort Lauderdale via a 12-night cruise and then launch a series of Caribbean sailings.

SPEAKING OF BERMUDA, Norwegian Cruise Lines Norwegian Spirit will join sister ship the Norwegian Dawn and add calls to Bermuda for the 2006 summer season from New York.  The Norwegian Spirits new eight-day itinerary will feature a daylong call in Bermuda, an overnight in St. Thomas, U.S.Virgin Islands, and a call at Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. This itinerary runs May 20 through Sept. 30. Prices start at $699 per person. The itinerary will alternate with Norwegian Spirits scheduled six-day Bahamas and Florida itinerary from New York calling in Port Canaveral, Fla., and Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.

ROCKIN THE BOAT: Royal Caribbean International kicked off what it called an aggressive charter resale push with a two-ship, full-charter program featuring a concert by Dave Matthews & Friends. The charter, in partnership with Clear Channel Entertainment, launches an effort to attract corporate meetings and incentive business and targets affinity groups in the music, religious and lifestyle arenas. Stacy Shaw, national charter sales manager for Royal Caribbean, said the full ship charter, either corporate or resale, is a great way to introduce the brand to guests and organizations that may not have cruised with us before. Cruisers will board the Sovereign of the Seas in Port Canaveral and the Majesty of the Seas in Miami and sail to an undisclosed island for a private concert on Feb. 4. Onboard concerts by other friends and scheduled port calls at Nassau and RCIs private CocoCay island round out the three-day trip that departs Feb. 3. Tickets, er, reservations are on sale at


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