Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Oct. 19, 2004

DINO SCHIBUOLA will retire as chairman and CEO of Costa Cruises North America, and Lynn Torrent, the vp-marketing services for Carnival Corp., will take over as president and CEO on Dec. 1. Schibuola has been with Costa for 25 years and spent the past 11 years as chairman and CEO.

THE CRUISE LINES INT'L ASSN. (CLIA) named its first travel agent advisory board last week and kept the names of the 25 agents - selected from more than 200 applicants - so tightly guarded that even the new board members didn't know them until CEO Terry Dale's "Direct to Dale" conference call on Oct. 13. Dale said he hoped the advisory board would act as a "think tank" and sounding board for CLIA policies and plans. CLIA tried to balance the first board across agency models, locations, size and years of membership. For example, 32% of the advisory board agents are home-based, and 24% are online retailers.

DISNEY CRUISE LINE put the finishing touches on a renovation of the Disney Wonder that adds venues similar to year-old additions on the Disney Magic. One of the new spaces is a teen hangout called Aloft, which is hidden in the ship's nonworking smokestack and replaces the ESPN sports bar. (The space is called the Stack on the Disney Magic). Disney also added a Cove Cafe eatery and a Diversions sports and karaoke bar, which are for adults.


THE RYNDAM will be "rededicated" Wednesday as the first Holland America Line vessel to incorporate the line's new Signature of Excellence features onboard. Madeleine Arison, the ship's original godmother and the wife of Carnival Corp. CEO Micky Arison, will rededicate the ship during a ceremony in San Diego. The Ryndam was christened to the fleet by Mrs. Arison in 1994. The Signature of Excellence enhancements have been started on all ships, but the Ryndam will be the first to have all of the new goodies, such as a Culinary Arts Cafe. The fleetwide rollout should be completed by the end of 2006.

CONGRESS granted cruise operators a year's extension on paying tax on certain types of income. Some cruise lines had pushed for the extension after the Internal Revenue Service last year reinterpreted tax regulations for international shipping companies and now requires them to pay income tax on items like pre- and post-hotel stays and shore excursions in the U.S. The provision is included in a bill passed last week; if it is signed by President Bush, the regulations would apply to cruise companies in the taxable year beginning after Sept. 24.


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