Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Oct. 3, 2006

PASSENGERS returning to the U.S. from Mexico, Caribbean, Canada or Bermuda via a cruise will not be required to show a passport until June 1, 2009, thanks to a provision inserted into a Homeland Security Department appropriations bill that extended the implementation of portions of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. The rule to require passports for passengers was scheduled to take effect in January 2007. According to Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the co-sponsors of the amendment, the legislation will allow more time to perfect a system that will also make PASS cards an available alternative to passports for land crossings at the Canadian and Mexican borders. The bill was passed on Sept. 29; President Bush is expected to sign it into law. The International Council of Cruise Lines praised Washington's decision, while expressing support for increased security: "The cruise industry applauds Congress' efforts to increase security at our borders but to do so reasonably," said Michael Crye, president of the ICCL.

LIBYA last week denied Silversea Cruises' American passengers entry into the country, instead making them remain onboard during the ship's call there, a repeat of the fall 2005 actions that prompted Silversea and Oceania Cruises to cancel calls to Libya. "It's the same problem that's been going on," said Brad Ball, spokesman for Silversea Cruises. "Libya is still not issuing visas for Americans." Some lines had canceled calls to the popular destination last spring, before the U.S. State Dept. announced in May 2006 that it would reestablish diplomatic relations with Libya.

PEARL SEAS CRUISES, an offshoot of small-ship operator American Cruise Lines, signed contracts with Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax, Nova Scotia to build two new luxury cruise ships and has plans to build a third, larger ship, according to company spokesman Jamie Murrett. In a statement, Pearl Seas said the two ships will carry 165 and 210 passengers and would enter service in July 2008 and June 2009, respectively. The ships will be flagged in the Marshall Islands and will offer cruises starting in 2008 in the Canadian Maritimes, Newfoundland and New England, before repositioning to the Caribbean later that year.

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES will swap homeports and deployments of its 2,124-passenger ships Carnival Legend and Carnival Miracle in spring 2007, in order to offer a fresh product to repeat guests, said to Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. Passenger reservations on the two sister ships will be shifted from one vessel to the other and booking and stateroom numbers will remain the same. The Legend, which sails from New York and Fort Lauderdale, will go to Tampa, Fla., for year-round, seven-day western Caribbean voyages starting April 15. The Miracle, now based in Tampa, will head to New York for the summer season and operate eight-day Caribbean sailings beginning April 25; it will reposition to Fort Lauderdale and begin eight-day southern and western Caribbean sailings Oct. 22, 2007.

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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