Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Oct. 30, 2007

COSTA CRUISES will send the Costa Mediterranea to Brazil for the winter 2008-2009 season, forgoing its current Caribbean route out of Fort Lauderdale. The ship will join the Costa Magica in offering trips out of Santos, Costa said, but its itineraries have not yet been determined. Costa said last month that the Mediterranea would leave Florida to be placed in "a different key core market, allowing Costa to reinforce its strategic global positions."

A SOUTH KOREAN COMPANY, STX Group, is now the largest single shareholder in Aker Yards. STX purchased $800 million of Aker's shares, giving it 39.2% ownership of the company's 18 shipyards in eight countries. STX, a holding company with seven affiliated industrial firms, is parent to STX Shipbuilding, already one of the world's largest builders of container ships and chemical carriers. It has no experience with cruise shipbuilding, where Aker is one of the dominant players, with nine large cruise ships currently in contract.

DAVID GIERSDORF resigned as president of Ambassadors International, effective Dec. 31. Joe Ueberroth, chairman and CEO of Ambassadors, will assume the position of interim president, the company said. Nico Corbijn and Diane Moore both were promoted to executive vice president of Ambassadors Cruise Group. In a statement, Ueberroth said that Giersdorf was "integral in the creation of Majestic America Line... and our entry into the international small-ship, luxury market through Windstar Cruises."

MAJESTIC AMERICA LINE, meanwhile, said last week that the Queen of the West would assume the operation of nine itineraries on the Empress of the North beginning Nov. 3 so the 223-passenger Empress of the North can enter a scheduled drydock to complete work on its propulsion system. The Empress of the North ran aground in Alaska last May during an Inside Passage sailing and returned to service this summer.  The 142-passenger Queen of the West, which had no scheduled departures in November or December, will assume the Empress' roundtrip itineraries from Portland, Ore., along the Snake and Columbia rivers. Passengers who cannot be accommodated on the smaller Queen of the West will be offered cabins on sailings in the spring or a refund of their purchase. The Empress of the North will return to service on March 22.

THE PORT OF VANCOUVER said the number of passenger visits from cruise ships this year was up 14% compared with 2006, to an estimated count of 960,000. It marks a turnaround for the port, which had experienced four years of declining passenger volume. The number of cruise ship sailings to Vancouver was up 8% this year, to 275. The port said that the increase in passengers is mainly attributed to the Celebrity Mercury cruise ship, which homeported in Vancouver for its Alaska season.

Cruise E-Letter Editor: Johanna Jainchill

Phone: (201) 902-2065

[email protected]

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