Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Oct. 2, 2007

ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES will no longer pay 5% commission on air bookings made  through three of its cruise brands, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises, effective Nov. 1. RCCL sent a note to agents via e-mail Sept. 28 explaining its new policy; it said it had taken the action "to enable our brands to remain competitive within the cruise industry regarding air packages being offered to your clients." The move follows Carnival Corp.'s announcement in mid-September that it would eliminate commission on the air portion of its air/sea bookings.

SILVERSEA CRUISES acquired a 6,072-ton expedition cruise ship that it plans to put on Antarctic itineraries, catapulting the luxury line into the expedition tourism realm. Silversea took delivery of its sixth ship, the World Discoverer, a 175-passenger vessel that formerly sailed for Society Expeditions, on Sept. 17. Silversea said the ship would undergo a multimillion-dollar refurbishment before entering service in spring 2008. Manfredi Lefebvre, Silversea's chairman, said in a statement that the Silversea had been "looking into this segment for quite some time."

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES extended its contract with the port of New Orleans for another two years, until October 2010. The line will operate the 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy on four- and five-day Western Caribbean cruises year-round from the Big Easy, making a minimum of 70 calls per year at the port's new Erato Street Cruise Terminal. Port President and CEO Gary LaGrange said Carnival's decision displayed the line's "confidence in the city's rebounding tourism industry."

THE WORLD'S LARGEST CRUISE NIGHT got a boost from Carnival Cruise Lines and Princess Cruises, which are offering programs in conjunction with the Cruise Line International Association's annual marketing event. Princess is offering an online course for agents with tips and practical advice designed to make the most of the WLCN, while Carnival Cruise Lines has created a micro-site designed to help agents promote the Oct. 17 event. Carnival's site is accessible via a "World's Largest Cruise Night" link on its travel agent portal, Bookccl.com. Princess' course, "Successful Cruise Nights," is available through Princess Academy, its online training program.

STAR CRUISES' shareholders approved Apollo Management's proposed $1 billion equity investment in NCL Corp., Star said on Sept. 25. The deal gives Apollo, a private equity group based in New York, and Star each a 50% stake in NCL. The proceeds of the Apollo investment would be used to refinance NCL's existing debt and greatly increase the liquidity available to fund NCL's shipbuilding program, Star said, adding that NCL has 11,000 berths under construction, including the Norwegian Gem, which will be delivered next month.

Cruise E-Letter Editor: Johanna Jainchill

Phone: (201) 902-2065

[email protected]

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

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