Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Oct. 23, 2007

COSTA CRUISES placed an order with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for what would be its 16th and 17th ships, for an all-in cost of $1.4 billion. Costa, a subsidiary of Carnival Corp., said the 3,012-passenger, 114,200-ton vessels were scheduled to be delivered in 2011 and 2012 and would be sister ships to the Costa Concordia, the Costa Serena and the Costa Pacifica, which is currently under construction. Costa CEO Pier Luigi Foschi said that the line was "not only reinforcing our position as the market leader in Italy and Europe, but also responding to the increasing demand for our product from our customers across the globe." Costa currently has 12 ships in service, two under construction and three on order.

SEABOURN revealed the itineraries for the Seabourn Odyssey and opened the books on the ship's first season. The 450-passenger ship is under construction.  Pamela Conover, president and CEO of Seabourn, said that on June 24, 2009, the ship would depart Venice on a 14-day cruise to Istanbul, calling in Croatia, Montenegro and Greece. The Odyssey's inaugural season would include Seabourn's first world cruise, a 108-day sailing from Fort Lauderdale in January 2010. Seabourn is accepting Odyssey bookings from people that have been on a waiting list; on Nov. 5, bookings will open to the general public.

CRUISE LINES INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION introduced a new individual travel agent level of membership. Starting this week, for annual dues of $99, agents can individually sign up and get access to CLIA's education and training programs, industry information, marketing resources and communications from CLIA. "The 'one-size-fits-all' model of membership doesn't reflect today's changing travel agency channels," said Terry Dale, CLIA president and CEO, in a statement. "CLIA is confident the new membership program, including the individual agent member option, will have broad appeal and accurately reflects today's and tomorrow's cruise-selling landscape."

CLIA held its third annual "World Largest Cruise Night" on Oct. 17, and more than 1,000 agencies around North America participated, with another 2,600 agencies hosting online WLCN events. Liberty Travel, for example, hosted WLCN events at all of its locations around the country and decorated its locations for the event; Makis Xenatos, vice president of cruise marketing for Liberty, said that the company sold 1,000 cruises that day, making it a "very successful day for both us and our cruise partners." CLIA will release its WLCN numbers at the end of the month, but it is expecting better returns than in 2006, when the event generated $18.5 million in cruise sales and more than $2.4 million in travel agency commissions.

LINDBLAD EXPEDITIONS acquired a seventh ship, an ice-class polar expedition vessel that it purchased from Hurtigruten (the former Norwegian Coastal Voyage). The vessel, a 25-year-old, 150-passenger, 6,100-ton vessel called the Lyngen, will be renamed the National Geographic Explorer and undergo extensive renovations, Lindblad said. The ship will have multiple dining venues, a lounge designed specifically for educational presentations and a luxury wellness spa. Lindblad said last month that it was rebranding most of its fleet with the National Geographic name, a result of an expanding partnership with National Geographic.

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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