Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Oct. 17, 2006

NCL AMERICA'S four ships in Hawaii were unscathed after an earthquake measuring 6.6 in magnitude shook the islands early on Oct. 15. The Pride of Aloha stayed an extra night in Honolulu to accommodate disembarking passengers who were unable to get their flights home and to wait for passengers on the current cruise who were unable to get to Hawaii by the ship's scheduled departure time. The Pride of Aloha was to miss its call in Kona, which was closed for evaluation, but the rest of the itinerary was unchanged. NCL did not change itineraries for the Pride of America, the Norwegian Wind and the Pride of Hawaii, but all are subject to change depending on the status of the Kona port.

CRYSTAL CRUISES plans to have cell phone service operational on both its ships later this month via a partnership with SeaMobile. The firm's Quiet Zone technology will allow service to work in some parts of the ships, while other areas will be "cell phone-free." Thomas Mazloum, Crystal's senior vice president of hotel operations, said the distinction is for travelers that want to stay in touch but "don't want to be disturbed."  Text messaging and the use of personal digital assistants will also be possible. The charges will be billed at international roaming rates to the passenger's cell phone bill.

PEARL SEAS CRUISES became the 20th member of the Cruise Lines International Association on Oct. 6. Pearl Seas, the offshoot affiliate of small-ship operator American Cruise Lines, had announced in September that it had signed contracts to build one 165-person cruise ship that will enter service in July 2008 and a 210-passenger vessel that will enter service in June 2009. CLIA-member cruise lines collectively represent 97% of the cruise capacity marketed in North America.

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE said that its $225 million Signature of Excellence initiative is now complete, with the last piece, a Culinary Arts Center on the Oosterdam, installed this month. The two-year project on twelve HAL ships took 200 days of drydock and, between shipyard workers, contractors and ship personnel, almost 2,000 people to complete. HAL CEO Stein Kruse said that reaction from passengers, travel agents, press and staff has been overwhelmingly positive.

Cruise E-Letter Editor:

Johanna Jainchill

Phone: (201) 902-7940

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].

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